Wilmington's West Virginia Day is 'a natural thing'

Wilmington's West Virginia Day is 'a natural thing'
The annual West Virginia Day celebration will take place this weekend. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Yes, there will be pepperoni rolls at the 27th annual West Virginia Day. Just don't expect them to last long.

"They will be available Saturday if you get there early enough," event organizer Jim DeFrance said. "They go quickly."

Sure they do.

After all, the unofficial food of the Mountain State might be a curiosity — if not an oddity — to most of the nation. Still, it's a tangible memory of home for many former West Virginia residents who now have addresses in the Cape Fear Region.

And there are enough of them — West Virginians, that is, not pepperoni rolls — to prompt the yearly get-together that will take place at Winter Park Baptist Church.

As in past years, DeFrance says he expects hundreds to attend an event that's free, but dependent upon donations to offset expenses. Attendees are encouraged to bring a covered dish to share corresponding to last name: A-F, bring a vegetable; G-M, a dessert; N-S, a meat or fish; T-Z, a salad. Soft drinks and iced tea will be provided and there will be a modified 50/50 raffle along with entertainment.

Some of those in attendance will be like DeFrance — retirees who chose to settle here for a combination of reasons ranging from the weather to the riverfront to an abundance of entertainment options. Others matriculated toward the area simply because of things not offered in West Virginia.

Regardless of the reason, enough have settled here to prompt the annual reunion.

"West Virginia, in many cases, doesn't have many opportunities for people young and old," DeFrance said. "(The area is) a natural magnet, and we found more and more West Virginians are around here. Well, they like to come and mingle, talk, eat some good food and have a good time so it's a natural thing."

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