Ron Onesti always had an affinity for Frank Sinatra. His father, Albert, would sometimes call him up and break right into 20 minutes of Sinatra songs before even saying hello. But it wasn't until 12 years ago that Onesti became connected to Hoboken, N.J., the singer's birthplace. And now he wants to help bring it back from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.
Onesti, who owns the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, began helping Hoboken put together an Italian festival every September starting in about 2000.
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"It was a little thing," Onesti said. "I showed them how to build it a little bit. They moved it out to Frank Sinatra Park, right on the water. And now the festival has grown to about 60,000 people. Over the years, I've just gotten to be so close to the families."
Onesti watched in horror when Hurricane Sandy hit Hoboken. He hasn't actually been out to see the impact, but he said he's heard from several of the groups and families he works with to produce the Italian Festival.
"They really got hit bad, and it was far from an affluent community to begin with," Onesti said.
To help those families, Onesti is planning to raise money for single mothers and children left homeless by the hurricane in Hoboken at a concert at the Arcada Dec. 1. And he'll have some big names to back him up.
Former New York City police officer and singer Eddie Money will play this weekend at the Arcada. Joining him will be Edgar Winter as well as Jon Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band, from "Eddie & The Cruisers."
Onesti said 100 percent of the profits of the show will go toward Hurricane Sandy relief.
"It's one thing to donate to so many of the worthwhile causes out there, but those are somewhat blind donations," Onesti said. "I have specific addresses of families whose houses are gone or filled with water."
Tickets are on sale for $35 to $59 at oshow.com or by calling (630) 962-7000.