39th Annual Eppie’s Great Race

Another Eppie’s Great Race has come and gone, but memories of a fun-filled day will live on. Thousands of people participated as well as volunteered for the annual event, now in its 39th year, which took place Saturday, July 21.
The race began with a 5.82-mile run along the American River bike trail near the bridge at William Pond Recreation Area.
Teams, “Ironmen” and “Ironwomen” then biked 12.5 miles from Guy West Bridge at Sacramento State to the Sunrise Avenue Bridge in Rancho Cordova.
The race concluded with a 6.35-mile kayak down the American River to River Bend Park.

tom@valcomnews.com

East Sacramento 4th of July Parade 2012

Carmichael’s 102nd Founders’ Day Sept. 24

Saturday, Sept. 24 will mark Carmichael’s 102nd Founders’ Day Celebration.

As it does every year, the Carmichael Recreation and Park District is putting together a party you won’t want to miss. It’s hard to see how they manage it, but the event just seems to get better every year.

From classic cars to arts & crafts to power horns and carnival games, the event will have a little something for everyone. Dignitaries, musicians and vendors will be “doing their thing” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The day kicks off with a delicious pancake breakfast hosted by the Fair Oaks Lions Club. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and is $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 11 and under.

The Classic Car Show starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. This year, the Cappuccino Cruisers car club is bringing their collection of classic autos to Founders’ Day. Check out the muscle cars of the 1960s and early ’70s, the classics of the ’50s, the flatheads of the ’40s, the gangster cars of the 1930s and the classic ‘tin lizzies’ of the teens and ’20s.

New to Founders’ Day this year is an Old-fashioned Country Fair. Like county fairs of old, this fair will feature competitions in art, textiles, food and more. If you win a competition, you have bragging rights for the next year that you are the BEST in Carmichael. Check-in is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Judging is at noon. To enter, contact the Cappuccino Cruisers (who are hosting the fair) at (916) 988-6376. There is an entry form available online at the Carmichael Park and Rec website: www.carmichaelpark.com.

The Carmichael Dog Park Society will host a Dog Parade and Show as a fundraiser to benefit the Carmichael Dog Park. Call (916) 422-2280 for details to enter your pooch in the parade. The Dog Parade and Show will start at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Founders’ Day is always a family friendly event so be sure to bring your children or grandchildren out so they can enjoy the many children’s activities. There will be a mini carnival, face painting, arts & crafts, clowns, an appearance by River Cats mascot Dinger and more – all free.

The shopping promises to be good at the vendor booths this year, also. Information booths, arts and crafts vendors, non-profit agencies and of course food vendors will be scattered around the Carmichael Park Band Shell to tempt you into shopping, eating and enjoying the day.

Live entertainment by the headlining band, Custom Neon, is sure to please.

For more information on Founders’ Day please call the Carmichael Recreation and Park District at (916) 485-5322 or visit www.carmichaelpark.com. The Carmichael Park Band Shell is located in the back of Carmichael Park at 5750 Grant Avenue and both parking and admission are free.

Sixth annual California Capital Airshow thrilling, patriotic

The skies over Sacramento thundered as the Sixth annual California Capital Airshow was held at Mather Field on Sept. 10 and 11.

Both vintage and modern aircraft (and the world’s fastest semi-tractor-jet-truck) thrilled and entertained. The event also honored the courage and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans – as well as the men and women who currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Special performances included the F-15E Strike Eagle Team, an F-18 Super Hornet demonstration, ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ – a multi-sensory tribute to Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, the Patriots Jet Team and the Heritage Flight.

‘That’s-a Italian’ – Authentic New York flavor at Giovanni’s Pizzeria

 
John Ruffaine, the "Giovanni" of Giovanni's Old World New York Pizzeria in Sacramento, is committed to creating pizzas with authentic New York taste. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua
John Ruffaine, the “Giovanni” of Giovanni’s Old World New York Pizzeria in Sacramento, is committed to creating pizzas with authentic New York taste. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua

When displaced New Yorkers walk through the door of Giovanni’s Old World New York Pizzeria in East Sacramento for the first time, it is not uncommon for them to stop dead in their tracks, inhale deeply and then reach in their pockets for their cell phones.

“Mom, I’ve found pizza.”

This reaction does not surprise John Ruffaine, co-owner of Giovanni’s, in the least. It is something he has come to expect, and to reflect upon with pride as a native of Bedside, Brooklyn himself.

“I’ve had people literally cry at my counter because they were so happy,” he said. “They walk in the door, and they know they’ve found a taste of home. They can tell just from the smell.”

The sign on the building says “New York” pizza, and that is what John prepares for his customers every day. He is committed to providing Sacramento’s pizza lovers with the “real deal.”

“This is real Italian pepperoni,” he said as he prepared a pizza pie. “And this is real mozzarella from New York. We don’t throw dough here – we stretch it. Those guys who throw dough around aren’t authentic. Nobody in New York or Italy does that.”

The Pizza Rustica is prepared without sauce. It features Giovanni's hand-stretched dough, topped with Italian salami, fire roasted red peppers, spinach, ricotta salata, Romano cheese and mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua

The Pizza Rustica is prepared without sauce. It features Giovanni's hand-stretched dough, topped with Italian salami, fire roasted red peppers, spinach, ricotta salata, Romano cheese and mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua

John so enjoys making pizzas that customers sometimes laughingly accuse him of not wanting to hand it over to them. He seems to work with a perpetual smile on his face as he crafts each pizza. He is passionate about producing a pizza that is as New York as possible. He was taught by those in the know, in the Italian neighborhoods of New York. The recipes are Old World Italian.

“I made my first pizza when I was eight years old,” he said. “I was helping my mom in the kitchen. Old time Italians taught me, if you made a mistake you got more than just a payment – if you know what I mean.”

John with his wife, Jenny, and Carlo and Allison Grifone founded Giovanni’s in 2001.

“We’re two Italian American families, and our families are from Salerno, Sicily and Calabra,” he said. “A lot of what’s on our menu is inspired from Southern Italy – it’s actually what they use in their pizza. We don’t use any enhancers. What you are getting is genuine flavor and texture. We use only the finest ingredients. If it’s not made from scratch, it’s imported from Italy or New York.”

Sizes are larger than what most Sacramento residents are used to seeing. A large at Giovanni’s is a generous 16 inches across – a good value for a hungry family.

A standard Pizza Pie is made with Giovanni’s tomato sauce, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and spices (Large, $17.95). The Little Italy is generously topped with meatballs, ricotta, garlic and spices ($11.95 for small, up to $24.75 for large).

Specialty pizzas are featured every three weeks.

A “Pizza Rustica” is lovingly placed into the oven to bake to delicious perfection by John Ruffaine, the “Giovanni” of Giovanni’s Pizza. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua

A “Pizza Rustica” is lovingly placed into the oven to bake to delicious perfection by John Ruffaine, the “Giovanni” of Giovanni’s Pizza. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua

“The specials focus on different regions of Italy,” John said. “Those are true Neapolitan pizzas.”

Customers can’t get enough – they are tremendously loyal.

“My mother is from New York and I’ve been out there lots of times. This is the closest thing around here to a real New York pizza,” said Tony Brown, Sacramento resident and loyal customer. “Not to mention, I like the customer service. John treats you real well.”

The pizzeria is large and spacious – intended for families and community gatherings.

“This is where baseball teams come after the game,” John said. “It’s where families gather. It’s where a kid can get his first job and bring his first date. And I’ve seen that happen a lot in the last nine years.”

“Giovanni” is Italian for John. His name, quite literally, is on the building. He is also known for his support of local schools and charities. Many a Giovanni’s pizza has raised funds for a worthy cause.

Giovanni's Pizzeria has ample seating for family, team and business gatherings. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua

Giovanni's Pizzeria has ample seating for family, team and business gatherings. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Tom Paniagua

“There’s a lot of action behind what I do,” John said. “My name is on the building. I care about this business and the community. We help everyone in the community. Those kids are the future.”

Giovanni’s Old World New York Pizzeria is located at 6200 Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento. A second location is at 5924 South Land Park Drive in Sacramento. Visit www.giosnypizza.com and their page on Facebook.

susan@valcomnews.com

Sacramento community celebrates Crocker expansion

Sacramento partied like it was 10-10-10 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. to celebrate the re-opening of the Crocker Art Museum and the grand opening of its 125,000 square-foot expansion.

Members of the public were treated to a wide variety of multicultural events, as well as a free day to tour the museum.