Bread, Bocce, and Belief: Maintaining Waldensian and Franco-Italian Heritage in the Foothills of the Appalachians

Sara Bell (Vance-Granville Community College)

The Waldensian Festival held every August in Valdese, North Carolina might appear to be a typical small-town southern street fair with country, rock, R&B, and gospel bands, vendors selling local honey and crafts, face painting, and games for kids. But the lively bocce tournaments, bread baking demonstrations at a historic communal oven, wine tastings that celebrate a centuries-old viticulture practice, performances of sacred music sung in Occitan patouà, and an outdoor drama that recounts the long Waldensian history of faith and endurance reinforce the power of expressive practice in maintaining identity, community, and cultural heritage in this enclave founded by Italian immigrants in 1893.

Part of 05-13 Food and Identity, Friday, October 14, 10:30 am–12:30 pm