By Kaylee Lindenmuth | firstname.lastname@example.org
KULPMONT, Northumberland County - Recognizing the Italian roots of the coal region and commemorating a saint venerated in the country, area residents processed through the streets of Kulpmont for the San Marziale Procession.
The event, which recognizes Saint Martial, was a tradition in the area in the early to mid 1900s, was discontinued, and subsequently revived seven years ago.
"If you look at the majority of people in Kulpmont, probably around sixty percent of the population actually came from Isca [Italy]," said Chris Bressi, organizer.
St. Martial is the patron saint of the town, located in Calabria, Italy.
"It was very popular in the 1920s, and was still popular into the 1940s and 50s, even the 1960s, and in the 70s, it stopped," Bressi added.
He and Tom Letcavage spearheaded the recent revival seven years ago, he said.
"We draw people from all over the country. We have people from Chicago here today, New York, Philadelphia, there's even someone from Oklahoma City here this year," said Bressi. "Every year, we've been growing and getting better."
The procession involved the Our Boys Band of Kulpmont, which began in 1921 and disbanded for about two decades, said Letcavage, until the band was brought back six years ago. This year, the band was supplemented by members of Shenandoah's Upper Schuylkill Marching Band, and in two weeks, for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Procession in Shenandoah, Our Boys members will supplement Upper Schuylkill.
Following the procession, a free meal was served at the Holy Angels Church Hall.
The procession, like Shenandoah's Our Lady of Mount Carmel procession, featured a statue of St. Martial which residents along the parade route pinned donations to.
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