The Grand Ballroom at Carrie Cerino’s Ristorante & Party Center provided the backdrop Aug. 4 for the biggest local party in 200 years as North Royalton celebrated its bicentennial with a formal gala ball.
A warm sense of community and civic pride filled the room as guests gathered to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a prime rib dinner, delectable desserts, an open bar, luxury raffle prizes, historical items on display and entertainment provided by the Motown band Twist.
Anyone with a true love and passion for North Royalton was in attendance at the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event, including city and school leaders and officials, local business owners, city employees, and representatives from churches and service organizations including the North Royalton Historical Society, the North Royalton High School Alumni Association, the Lions Club, Royalton Hills Lions, CERT, and others.
“As a resident, Trustee for the Historical Society, and as City Councilman, I am so excited to celebrate this special time in our city’s history,” said Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw. “I am just honored to be a part of this celebration and it is so great to see our community joining in on all the fun.”
Council President Larry Antoskiewicz felt grateful to be in attendance and commented on how attending the celebration only further fueled his desire to serve constituents.
“We need to continue to build on the progress we have made and continue to do it with fiscal responsibility and common sense,” he noted. “My best memories (from serving on City Council) are from supporting the different city, school and church events. The appreciation and sincere thanks I receive continues to reaffirm the kindness, generosity and commitment of this community.”
Doors opened at 6 p.m. for the Bicentennial Gala Ball and included a welcome address from Aldo M. Filippelli, president of the North Royalton Chamber of Commerce, an invocation/meal blessing by the Rev. Fr. Edward Estok of Saint Albert the Great Church, comments by Mayor Bob Stefanik, an acknowledgement of event sponsors, and a benediction by the Rev. John Zahrte of Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church. Attendees paged through community artifacts on display by the North Royalton Historical Society, including photos, event fliers dating back to the 1800s and archival outfits. There were many raffle prizes, including a beautiful LeVian chocolate diamond necklace, provided by Goldsmith Jewelers. Each attendee held a blue ticket with a chance to win the door prize of a 55-inch smart TV, provided by Online Liquidation Auction.
“When we look at the word ‘Royalton,’ we can see it as an acrostic with the ‘R’ standing for residents, the lifeline and heart of our community, the ‘O’ for organizations, the many civic and service clubs who instill pride and serve in our community, the ‘Y’ for our yester-years, the ‘A’ for our special anniversary, our bicentennial, the ‘L’ for our rich landscape and our trees and land, the ‘T’ for tomorrow and what the future will bring, the ‘O’ for opportunity, and of course the ‘N’ for North Royalton,” Filippelli said.
He also spoke of the city’s rich history, which came with the arrival of its first settlers from Royalton, Vermont, taking the brave first steps in building a town in which to live and raise their families.
Mayor Bob Stefanik acknowledged members of city council and the various civic organizations that were present. He said it was an honor to be mayor during the bicentennial year and something he will never forget.
At their tables, Gala attendees received a program highlighting the evening’s main events and the Historical Society added a keepsake pennant. The Chamber gave each guest a favor at their place setting of either homemade Vermont maple syrup, from where our earliest settlers came, or a jar of jam produced in North Royalton with a cloth topper resembling the homemade canned gifts of the past. The jam cloth toppers were embroidered by Caterina Calabretta and read “N R 1818 – 2018,” with the sponsor colors of either gold, silver or bronze. Atop each table’s centerpiece was a card featuring biographical information for North Royalton’s most unique former residents, such as Dale Isham, founder of North Royalton’s first taxi service using a 1916 Model T Ford.
“The first known taxi service was made available by the countless produce marketers traveling to and from what is now the City of Brooklyn,” a table centerpiece card stated. “Dale Isham made three to seven trips to and from Cleveland daily. For a fare of 35 cents, one could travel from the stop on State Road to the Terminal Tower in a little over an hour.”
Another table featured a card with information about “J. W. Edgerton, born May 19, 1845, son of John who came from Massachusetts in 1838 with several brothers. J. W. married Elizabeth Cartwright in 1868 and they had three children. In 1870 he erected a wagon repair shop and later added the service of blacksmithing under the business name of J. W. Edgerton & Son. In 1885 he built one of the finest homes in town. He was a Trustee in Royalton for four years. He and his wife attended the Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon.”
Ward 1 Councilman John Nickell said, “It makes me feel good that I am part of a community that is celebrating its long history. I understand and value a deep heritage as I am a tenth generation American. North Royalton has come a long way from dirt roads and farms, to having friendly neighborhoods, a vibrant people, and producing some of the top educated youth in northeast Ohio.”
Nickell spoke too of his hopes for the community’s future in the years to come.
“I am excited about the future of North Royalton. We need to start looking at long-range plans to expand key congested intersections in our city, and begin to build a more definable image for North Royalton and do a better job with the visual image the city presents,” he said. “Doing these things will attract businesses to our community. May God Bless North Royalton and her residents with health and prosperity for another 200 years.”
Ward 4 Councilman Paul Marnecheck shared his pride for the community and wishes for its future. He too noted how attending the Gala renewed his passion to serve.
“It reminded me that the hard work of those who 50 or 100 years ago were the city leaders made today possible. We are all connected, and the progress and success we need to make today will make sure North Royalton is a strong community when we celebrate our 250th and 300th Birthdays,” he said.
“The Chamber of Commerce was proud to host this once-in-a lifetime celebration. Working out all the details of the Bicentennial Gala was a labor of love,” said Chamber Executive Director, Maria Magnelli. “Our goal was to beautifully lace together our past to the present. I felt we owed it to our forefathers to make our city’s 200th birthday an event to be truly enjoyed and remembered fondly for years to come.”


Contributing Writer