The West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival is alive and well. It seems to me that the committee has given a breath of fresh air to it and it was very evident at the Spring Gala this past week. The event was a sell out crowd with wonderful food.
The Spring Gala is held each year for the purpose of announcing the young lady who will be the next Regina Maria and her court. Approximately 41 individuals were presented as members of the court. They included the maids of honor, the princesses, the Junior court, the minor court and the Regina’s attendants.
The young lady who will be crowned on Labor Day weekend as Regina Maria was announced as Delaney Wells. She is 21 and the daughter of Natalie Tennant and Eric Wells.
Over the past week you have probably had the opportunity to read many articles about Delaney but I want to share one with you about her grandmother, Rose Mary Tennant. Back during the very early history of the festival, we had an Italian Trivia Contest. It was composed of four people teams who competed against each team. Rose Mary was a member of a team from Fairmont. As I remember this team was very competitive. They really prepared themselves for the tournament and came prepared to win. And win they did: for seven or eight years. This was one of the first events on the weekend before and it gave us all the opportunity to get geared up for the festival. I remember how much Rose Mary and her team brought to the festival. Not only were they competitive Italians but they brought a lot of knowledge that rubbed off on most of us in attendance. I know that Rose Mary is so proud to know that her granddaughter will be serving as the Regina this year.
Rose Mary is really a Clarksburg girl. She is a Brunetti from the North View area and the famous Smitty’s Pizza. She still has a brother in the area and he was in attendance at the Gala. Somehow there is a connection between them and my Burnett heritage. I enjoy corresponding with Joyce Jones, the daughter of Rose Mary’s sister, Bee Arther. So I am also proud of Delaney. It makes me very happy for Rose Mary to know that her granddaughter is continuing to present and preserve our heritage. She was one proud Italian.
I also want to add a footnote here. Avery Queen, MacKenna Robey, Emily Smith and Dominick Robey are all members of the court this year. All four of them are direct descendants of Florence Roberti and William Burnett, being their great, great grandchildren. I only know that the mission of the festival was to preserve and present our heritage, and when we have four generations participating we are fulfilling the mission.
Do your part in keeping the Festival. “Alive and Well.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Do something special for your mother.
Keep safe and healthy and until next week “Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine.”
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