Dear Friends of the Italian American Community,
I wanted to touch base with you regarding my Miss Italian St. Louis experience. In 2000 I was named Miss Italian St. Louis. Though it was 18 years ago, I have felt that it was only yesterday that I was crowned. I always took pride in my Italian heritage, and being Miss Italian just added to it. However, it was more than just representing my pride and culture to the city, it was about learning my new things, for example the origin of the Sicilian dialect that was spoken at one of the meetings for the Sicilian Cultural Association. I found a deeper meaning of what being Italian meant.
One of my favorite memories was assisting the various Italian dignitaries place a wreath by Christopher Columbus’s statue in Tower Grove Park. To me, Columbus represents the courage and determination of all the Italian immigrants ( my grandparents, father, and aunts and uncles included.). It saddens me that others do not know it’s significance to the Italian community. I still cherish my crown and sash, and have placed it in a keepsake box in which I still show to new friends and family. And though my grandparents are both now deceased, I feel very blessed to have experienced the rich traditions so I can now pass on to my family.
Francesca Allhoff ( Zanti)