CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival hosted its celebrations in a different way this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 marks the 42nd year of celebrations during Labor Day weekend for the festival.
For the first time since the inception of the festival history all the events will be virtual with some interactive components. Virtual attendees were able to stroll down memory lane with archived footage, real and past time entertainment, and interviews. Inception of the first festival goes back to 1979 focusing on the values of family no matter the people’s background.
“Right now on our Facebook we have cooking demonstrations from one of our board members Rose Mazza. That is something that during the regular festival we have that, that goes on, a lot of times cooking demonstrations, but in the hustle and bustle of the big street fair its easy to miss something like that. Whereas online its easier for people to sit down and tune into that in their own homes and try out a recipe maybe,” said Tyler Terango, Chairman for the Board of Directors for the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival.
Those who performed and interacted virtually were socially distanced within the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center
“Since COVID started, it started by vendors not being able to start securing their spots for the festival, some sponsors not being able to commit to sponsorship because they have been impacted by COVID. And so, from the financial standpoint clear through the planning standpoint all of that has been affected and changed. And we have had to learn how to adapt, adjust and figure out new ways to still be able to move forward and stay active and alive for 2020,” said Terango.
Virtually festival officials said those watching can expect to enjoy a lot of entertainment on their Facebook page or on their website. Terango said there is a lot of local talent in the community and likes that the festival was able to showcase some of the local authors in an online forum, local enteritainers, while still supporting education with scholarships.
The Italian Heritage Festival welcomes everyone to join them online to share some laughter, dancing, music and form a connection with new people about Italian traditions and heritage. More virtual festivities will be taking place on Sunday concluding the weekend celebrations which can be watched on Facebook.