The City of Militello Val di Catania, Italy, on the island of Sicily, held an official public event on May 8, 2009, to grant honorary citizenship to actress Jennifer Gareis and her family.
Gareis stars as Donna Logan, the wife of Eric Forrester (John McCook) and sister of Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang) on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.
The ceremony was the culmination of three days of festivities organized by Sicilia Mondo, a worldwide organization devoted to the promotion and preservation of Sicilian culture. It was officiated by the city’s mayor, Sindaco Antonio Lo Presti, and attended by thousands of members of the public and numerous local press. A celebratory procession through the streets preceded the ceremony, with the Gareis family riding on an ornate horse-drawn Sicilian cart, accompanied by the music of a traditional Sicilian band and a medieval flag-waving troop.
During the procession, Gareis and her family were besieged for autographs by the throng, and many handed their small children to Gareis to hold for photos. After the ceremony, Gareis saluted the crowd with cries of “Viva Militello!” as fireworks lit up the sky.
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is the most successful foreign dramatic serial in Italy, broadcast weekdays on national Italian broadcaster, Canale 5. The series and its cast enjoy high-profile celebrity status there, owing to this phenomenal long-lasting ratings success.
Gareis and her family made the trip to Italy in order to get reacquainted with their Sicilian heritage. Following an investigation some time ago by Gareis’ mother, who with the help of locals, traced family ancestors back to Militello, the family was able to find and contact descendents of Ms. Gareis’ great-grandmother, Sebastiana Tringali.
While in Militello, Gareis visited a local bakery, where she assisted with the baking of local specialties, and spent time serving the locals and getting acquainted with her relatives at her uncle’s local café-bar, Bar New York.