SHINNSTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival (WVIHF) Bocce Ball Tournament took place at Ferguson Memorial Park on Aug. 27, starting at 9 a.m.

This tournament is the first event to set off the 43rd Annual WVIHF that will be held on the weekend of Sept. 2 through the 4.

This double elimination tournament featured nine teams that were made up of four players per team. It was twenty-five dollars to participate as a player, and food and drinks were provided during the day. There was also a 50/50 raffle that players could take part in.

The Bocce Ball Tournament started back when the first members of the board were initiated. Bill Boyles, a member of the festival’s Board of Directors, is not too sure what year Bocce started, but would guess that this year was around the 30th year.

The game of Bocce has three different colored balls. A white ball, which is called a pallino, and then one team will have the larger green balls, while another has the larger red balls. The object of the game is to throw the pallino and to try to get your team’s colored ball as close to the pallino as possible. The other team does have the opportunity to try to knock the closest ball away from the pallino, or get closer. The game can be played at any age.

There were groups of four members on a team, and every team had their own name. The festival even had a team playing, in which their name was the “festival four.”

When asked why he felt that this tournament was an important part of the festival, Boyles responded, “well this is heritage, I mean, this is what they did for years. This was their past time, this was their fun time, you know, so. This-this is something that a tradition, that we get to carry on for the, you know, for the elderly, for the older, for the young, I mean, it’s a great tradition for the Italian heritage.”

Boyles feels that the Bocce tournament is a ton of fun. He mentioned that it is exactly what Italian heritage is, everyone gets together, “you know, you hear Sunday spaghetti, and you just know that Sunday is family time.” The tournament is just like family time, they come together and have a lot of laughs, old stories, and just an overall great time.

The first place team was awarded with medallions and will be featured in the festival’s parade. While both second and first place teams also shared the prize money. Out of all nine teams the final rankings were:

  • First Place – The Knockers
  • Runner Up – Josh Shaw
  • Third Place – ProCare Pharmacy

Without sponsors, Boyles said that the tournament would not be possible. They want to thank everyone who has sponsored and helped them because without help, they could not put the tournament on.