A family pizza tradition since 1959, Aurelio’s Pizza recently learned about some rather interesting family traditions from the youngest members of its communities through selecting the winners of its First Annual Family Traditions 4thGrade Essay Contest.
The 300-word essays judged on length, originality, relevance and reading enjoyment starred many parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. While, Aurelio’s received heartwarming Christmas, Easter, Hanukah, Thanksgiving and summer vacation stories, there were also essays regaling observances that were just plain fun like the Pickle Hunt, Blast Party and Kites for Captain. One common message, though, rang through loud and clear in every essay: even more than kids like their traditions — and by all accounts, they really do — they mostly love spending uninterrupted time with their families.
Here are some of our favorite excerpts:
- “It was the time of year when we all get together in the freezing cold and go skiing with the shimmering white snow under our feet.” – Quinlan, Bourbonnais, IL
- “We always have tons of fun, but I’m always sad when they all leave. Then, I’m even sadder because we have to clean up everything!! I never really did enjoy cleaning up after the party.” – Gwen, Crown Point, IN
- “My favorite family tradition is going to 4-H fairs and showing sheep, goats, cattle, swine and rabbits. This year I had two goats, one lamb, one heifer, and two barrows. (A barrow is a castrated male pig.) My favorite things about the fair are preparing for the show, the food, performing, and how good it makes me feel.” – Colton, Macomb, IL
- “There I was having the best time of my life, wind in my face, what could go wrong? My grandma (who I call Mimi) and her boyfriend was taking me on the best tube ride ever.” – Jade, Valparaiso, IN
- “You can buy oplatky in the United States or make it at home. Oplatky is blessed bread. It tastes like nothing, but I like to eat it.” – Alex, Palos Heights, IL
“We congratulate all of our winners and were impressed by the many creative, well-written essays. You just can’t beat seeing the world through the eyes of fourth graders,” said Kirk Mauriello, director of franchising Aurelio’s Pizza. “Traditions are important to Aurelio’s, too, because we’ve been part of so many throughout our 53 years in business from the Friday pizza nights and family game nights to the sports team celebrations and big holiday get-togethers. That’s what it means to be a family-owned business that celebrates families.”
With a history as rich and entrenched in the community as the pizza it’s famous for, the very first Aurelio’s restaurant opened on Ridge Road in Homewood, IL as the pride and joy of Joseph A. Aurelio, Jr. who decided to give it a go as a restaurateur at the age of 26. With its legendary “old oven” dating back to 1959 in its Homewood location, Aurelio’s was a pioneer in the concept of the Family Pizzeria in the United States and helped to launch pizza into the American lexicon. Since that time, Aurelio’s has become one of Chicagoland’s claims to fame. And, transplanted Chicagoans all over the map have helped to bring their favorite pizzeria franchise to 42 cities across six states, growing a strong fan base for the taste of Aurelio’s. www.AureliosPizza.com