For Immediate Release
December 14th, 2013
Reviving the Italian tradition of
food, music and friendship at the at the Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival,
"The festival provides a throw-back to the way we
experienced the holidays when I was kid – actually doing things like eating and
visiting and listening to music and enjoying one another’s company," said Robert
Tinnell, one of the founders of the festival, whose award-applauded graphic
novel helped re-spark interest in the tradition.
WV (November 19, 2013) - Little old ladies dancing to polka, authentic cuisine,
and a community preserving a once-fading tradition— a festival brings a bit of
Italy to the forefront in historic downtown Fairmont, WV.
The Marion County community invites people to share its Italian heritage at the
of the Seven Fishes Festival on Dec. 14th, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
"The festival provides a throw-back to the way we experienced the holidays when
I was kid – actually doing things like eating and visiting and listening to
music and enjoying one another’s company," said Robert Tinnell, one of the
founders of the festival, whose award-applauded graphic novel helped re-spark
interest in the tradition. "I want to build Christmas memories somewhere other
than the mall, you know?"
The centerpiece of the festival is the food.
Italian tradition of a "meatless" family holiday feast, demos from the Festival
Cucina cooking school show visitors how to make a variety of the courses from
gourmet seafood, praise-worthy sides and decedent desserts – all step by step,
so they can take the tradition home.
The recipes change, so festival-goers can learn to cook new meals, all authentic
Local restaurants will also showcase their heritage ties, with cultural
favorites like lupine beans, fried smelt, stuffed calamari, pastries and breads.
The public can also show off their own culinary prowess in the homemade
contests, of Italian favorites of course— wine and cookies.
There's plenty more Italian tradition to explore once you're full. Local
crafters will showcase the best of both their Italian roots and the Appalachian
culture it helped shape. Browse freshly-cut wreaths, West Virginia glassware,
Italian-style pottery and crafts, and other gifts unique to the area.
entertainment also highlights Italy's finest, blending the country's musical
stylings and dances with classic holiday carols.
"The area’s Italian heritage is central to our identity," Tinnell said.
"Recognition of something that, well, makes us 'us,' is big deal."
Tinnell wrote "Feast of the Seven Fishes," a
graphic novel, because he wanted to help preserve the tradition important to his
childhood. When the book took off, earning an Eisner Award nomination and
national attention, he looked to restoring the feast where it began for him, his
One of the
most important elements of planning, according to Tinnell, is keeping the
festival authentic and intimate. It's not a commercial event; it's a community's
way of sharing sacred, long-observed tradition.
This was a perfect fit for the area, according to Leisha Elliott, the director
of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County.
"This festival invites people to our 'table' to share a unique tradition,"
Elliott said. "Italy had— still has— a big influence on our culture. Finding
ways to share our rich history, and really bring people into our heritage story,
is part of that culture, too. We're sharers."
The festival is free and open to the public. The streets, decorated for the
holidays, will open at 11 a.m., and festivities will continue until 7:00 that
Weather doesn't need to be a concern; if the seasonal sharing doesn't warm your
heart, the street heaters and sizzle of the grill will.
Schedule of Events:
11 am: OPENING CEREMONY
11:30 – 12:30: Traditional Christmas Music - local children's groups
1:00 – 2:30: Amici
3:00 – 5:00: 5 Guys Named Moe
5:30 – 6:30: Sam & Ott (Accordion Music)
Italian Street Performances from the Zany Umbrella Circus woven throughout the
day’s events. The Zany Umbrella is an internationally acclaimed company
from Pittsburgh, PA.
noon – 2:00: Festival Cucina (Feast Cooking School), Featuring Music by
Sam & Ott
noon – 2:00: Homemade Wine/Cookie/Sauce Contests
2:30: Announcements of Contest Winners
Ongoing: Home-brew Demonstrations/Samples
Ongoing: Bocce Ball
Media Visits: Complimentary media visits for journalists
on assignment or with approved credentials. If you are unable to accept a
courtesy visit, a press rate can be negotiated.
CVB of Marion County
Pleasant Valley, Pleasant Valley, WV, 26554
Reviving the Italian tradition of food, music and friendship at the
at the Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival, Fairmont, WV
Marion County, WV invites people to share its
Italian heritage at the
Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival on Dec. 14th, from 11:00 am
to 7:00 pm., in historic downtown Fairmont, WV. The festival is
based on a graphic novel written by Eisner Award nominee Bob Tinnell.
There's plenty Italian traditions to explore. Crafters will showcase
the best of both their Italian roots and Appalachian culture.
Entertainment also highlights Italy's finest, blending the country's
musical stylings and dances with classic holiday carols. And food is
the centerpiece of the festival. The festival is free and open to