West Virginia Department of Commerce Italian Heritage

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Italian Heritage

In the early 1900s, coal mining companies in West Virginia recruited Italian immigrants to work in the mines. Others found work on railroads and farms, and many of them settled in Clarksburg, Harrison County. In 1979, the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival was founded in Clarksburg to preserve and present Italian cultural traditions for new generations. With each successive year, the event continues to grow, bringing 100,000 visitors to the area and earning a reputation as one of the top festivals in North America. The festival features Italian cuisine, dancers, strolling minstrels, religious observances, a bocce tournament and more. Also, while you’re in Clarksburg, be sure to pick up a bag of freshly baked pepperoni rolls. This famous Italian-American treat was developed in the 1950s for the coal miners to pack in their lunches.