Eth­nic pride

An­nual cel­e­bra­tion in Shenan­doah to fea­ture art, food, di­ver­sity

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COPY ED­I­TOR

The mi­grants — and the cul­ture they car­ried with them — that con­verged to work in the one-time bustling min­ing re­gion will be cel­e­brated this week­end in a com­mu­nity that may best epit­o­mize a lit­tle slice of Amer­i­cana.

Shenan­doah will host the 20th an­niver­sary of its Her­itage Day, which will be held Satur­day start­ing with the Pa­rade of Na­tions at 10 a.m. in the bor­ough’s down­town, ac­cord­ing to Mary Lus­cav­age, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Down­town

Shenan­doah Inc., the re­vi­tal­iza­tion group that co­or­di­nates the event. The fes­ti­val is free, open to the pub­lic and will be held rain or shine.

The event is unique in that it’s not a cel­e­bra­tion of a sin­gu­lar her­itage on one day, or of strictly Amer­i­can her­itage, but of all the dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups that ex­em­plify what nascent Amer­ica was like.

“Nor­mally when a town cel­e­brates their her­itage, they cel­e­brate the her­itage of the town, where we cel­e­brate the her­itage of our eth­nic­ity, be­cause we’re so di­verse here. We have so many eth­nic­i­ties in this town. It’s not just Eastern Euro­pean, it’s not just Greek, it’s not just Ukrainian, it’s not His­pan­ics … there will be a show­ing of al­most all eth­nic­i­ties in the pa­rade,” Lus­cav­age said.

The na­tions march­ing in the pa­rade in­clude Bul­garia, Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic, Egypt, El Salvador, Is­rael, Ire­land, Lithua­nia, Mex­ico, Poland, Puerto Rico, Slo­vakia, Ukraine, and of course, the U.S., Lus­cav­age said, adding that the Di­vine Power of Christ Church will fly un­der 10 flags this year. In­cluded in the pa­rade will be a “spe­cial con­tin­gent” rep­re­sent­ing min­ers to mark the 250th an­niver­sary of an­thracite coal be­ing found in the re­gion.

In ad­di­tion to the min­ers in the pa­rade, John Bova, a son of the miner who passed away in the Shep­p­ton Mine Dis­as­ter, will be show­ing kids how to crack coal.

“I think it’s an art more than any­thing else,” Lus­cav­age said.

This year’s pa­rade grand mar­shal will be Pete Ver­nalis of Ver­nalis Restau­rant, which is cel­e­brat­ing its 70th an­niver­sary.

“Pete’s been very in­stru­men­tal in the town through­out his life. He was very in­stru­men­tal in Min­ers Me­mo­rial, and very in­stru­men­tal in the cham­ber of com­merce,” Lus­cav­age said.

The pa­rade will run from Jardin Street to Cherry Street, down to Main Street and fol­low Main to the Shenan­doah Se­nior Liv­ing Com­mu­nity, where a pre­sen­ta­tion to the grand mar­shal will be made, along with many mu­si­cal per­for­mances

with a taste of ev­ery na­tion. Per­form­ers in­clude Shaina Graff, the Shenan­doah All­Star Polka Band, J.T. Thomas and DJ Khemist.

And, Lus­cav­age said, new this year will be a few art-cen­tric dis­plays.

“We wanted to do some­thing to kick this off with it be­ing the 20th, so we de­cided to do an art show. We did one be­fore for the cen­ten­nial and it was very suc­cess­ful, so we de­cided to do it again,” she said.

The art show will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Di­vine Mercy Ro­man Catholic Parish’s St. Stephen Hall, 101 S. Main St. The event will in­clude artists from the Shenan­doah area, Walk In Art Cen­ter and stu­dents. One artist will even be do­ing a street-per­for­mance in­struc­tion on paint­ing, Lus­cav­age said.

There was also a home dec­o­rat­ing con­test, the idea of res­i­dent Mary Ann Pro­nio, where about 13 houses were dec­o­rated, and three win­ners were cho­sen dur­ing the week. The win­ners will be an­nounced this week­end, with first prize win­ning a his­tor­i­cal throw from DSI; sec­ond, a gift bas­ket from Mrs. T’s Piero­gies; and third, a gift cer­tifi­cate from Francesco’s Ris­torante. All were “very nicely done,” Lus­cav­age said, adding all were done with a par­tic­u­lar eth­nic twist.

Else­where, The Greater Shenan­doah Area His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, 201 S. Main St., will be open from noon to 4 p.m. to ex­hibit the bor­ough’s melt­ing-pot his­tory.

And, in ad­di­tion to the many craft ven­dors that will be sell­ing ev­ery­thing from ma­tryoshka, icons and wood­work­ings — “There’s noth­ing you can’t find here,” Lus­cav­age said — there will be that sta­ple, the items that by most stan­dards de­fine a cul­ture: Food.

Many of the na­tions march­ing in the pa­rade will have their own stands, Lus­cav­age said, adding that ev­ery­thing from piero­gies, halushki and kiel­basa to Egyp­tian spe­cial­ties and fine Mex­i­can cui­sine from La Ca­sita de Fa­milia will be avail­able.

“I wish ev­ery­body would stop by, en­joy the fes­ti­val, en­joy the pa­rade, go to the art show, check the win­dows out, come back and eat, en­joy the mu­sic and the day.” Lus­cav­age said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the 20th an­nual Her­itage Day and the fes­tiv­i­ties it en­tails, visit DSI’s web­site at www.down­town­shenan­ or call them at 570-4622060.

“I wish ev­ery­body would stop by, en­joy the fes­ti­val, en­joy the pa­rade, go to the art show, check the win­dows out, come back and eat, en­joy the mu­sic and the day.” Mary Lus­cav­age Ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Down­town Shenan­doah Inc.


Amy, left, and Anne An­dr­us­cav­age, both of Shenan­doah, rep­re­sented Lithua­nia dur­ing last year’s Pa­rade of Na­tions as part of the an­nual Her­itage Day. This year’s event will be­gin at 10 a.m. Satur­day in Shenan­doah.


Greg Tay­lor, Shenan­doah Heights, waves to the crowd in pa­tri­otic at­tire dur­ing last year’s fes­tiv­i­ties.

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