VALDESE — The Valdese LPDA will conduct a “Bocce Fun for Kids” program from 6 to 9 p.m. today.
This evening, which is opening night of the Valdese Waldensian Festival, kids of all ages can learn the techniques and rules of bocce. This popular Italian past time was brought to Valdese by the Waldensian settlers who founded the town in 1893. The “Fun for Kids” program will be conducted at the town’s bocce court on Main Street, near Italy.
“Bocce Fun for Kids” host is the Le Phare des Alpes (LPDA) club that was founded in 1909 by the Waldensian settlers as a mutual aid society. It continues today as a service club that, among other things, promotes Valdese as the “Bocce Capital of the World.” LPDA members assisted the 2018, 125th Valdese Anniversary Committee in renovating the bocce court on Main Street, which is available for use by the public.
An Old World custom followed by the Waldensian colonists who settled Valdese in 1893, for many years, was the baking of bread in a community oven. In the valleys of Italy, bread was baked once or twice a year. Climatic conditions were such that the dried, rock-like loaves could keep for many months. When needed for consumption, the loaves were cut into chunks and dipped in coffee, soup, broth, or wine. The texture is coarse, but has a delicious flavor. The bread oven at Le Phare des Alpes was constructed of native field rock and is used collectively by members.
During the Western Regional Bocce Tournament on Saturday, LPDA will fire up this typical oven using firewood to bake loaves of bread that will be available for purchase by tournament teams and spectators. In addition to the wood-fired oven-baked bread a full lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring Italian style soutisso sandwiches, soft drinks and a popular Italian beer.
The Western Regional Bocce Tournament will begin at 9 a.m. at 301 Laurel St. SE, the site of the only covered bocce courts in North Carolina. The top three teams will qualify for the NC State Bocce Tournament on Sept. 7, also hosted by LPDA. A team registration form and additional information can be found at www.lpda.us