100 years ago a young Italian immigrant named Antonio Varacalli saved a woman from death by drowning in the Cayuga/Seneca Barge Canal. Although, Varacalli’s heroism saved a life, he made the ultimate sacrifice and lost his own while doing so. This year, on Saturday, April 8, 2017, the annual Antonio Varacalli Day – A Celebration of Heroes will honor the young man at the very site the event took place on April 12, 1917, in Seneca Falls.
A bronze plaque mounted on the Bridge St. bridge reads “Antonio Varacalli gave his life to save another – He honored the community, the community honors him.” In that spirit, the organizing committee is inviting the community to nominate someone they feel emulates Varacalli to receive the annual Antonio Varacalli Day Award. Individuals wishing to nominate a hero for the Award can pick up a nomination form at the Seneca Falls Visitor Center and Museum of Waterways & Industry – 89 Fall Street, and at the Downtown Deli – 53 Fall Street, or submit the form on-line at http://therealbedfordfalls.com/antonio-varacalli-day. All nominations must be received by Thursday, March 30, 2017.
Also during the Celebration: Mynderse Academy students who have been nominated as “today’s heroes in the making” by their teachers, will be honored; “Who is your hero?” essay contest winners from Elizabeth Cady Stanton will be recognized and awarded prizes; and the VFW will perform a flag burning ceremony for retiring and disposing of worn out American flags. The public is invited to participate by bringing frayed, faded or otherwise unserviceable flags to be included or to drop off flags at the VFW or the American Legion before April 8 so that they may be included in the service.
The event will begin at 1:00 PM with a ceremony on the Bridge Street Bridge with the reading of the Andrew Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s 1917 investigator’s report; the Antonio Varacalli Day Proclamation; and will end with a flower ceremony. Upon conclusion of the ceremony, all of the student essays will be on display for viewing in the Community Center, and a chicken barbeque, starting at 11:00 a.m., will be available for purchase. Tickets for the chicken BBQ are available in advance at the SF Visitor Center and the Downtown Deli.