Residents celebrate being Welsh

YOUNGSTOWN – Mary Jane Lewis is proud to be Welsh.

To prove it, the Boardman woman has remained a member of the St. David’s Society of Youngstown all of her life.

“It’s wonderful thing. My mother and father were Welshmen and so were my grandparents. It’s a wonderful legacy, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Lewis was among about 50 people who gathered Saturday for the society’s 123rd annual St. David’s Day Banquet in honor of the Patron Saint of Wales. The event was held at the Saxon Club Pavilion in Youngstown.

Dressed in traditional Welsh attire, Lewis offered a toast to Wales.

The society was established in 1860. John Tamplin, president, explained the organization gives Welsh people of the Mahoning Valley the opportunity to gather to preserve and promote their Welsh heritage. It also allows them to carry on the traditions of their heritage.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get involved and be part of an organization that celebrates our Welsh heritage,” explained Tamplin of Hermitage, Pa.

Each year, on the Saturday closest to March 1, the society hosts the St. David’s Day Banquet. The society also hosts a variety of other events each year including a Welsh picnic each summer in Niles when members join with the Niles Gymanfa Ganu Association.

Saturday’s program also included a welcome by Tamplin; blessing by Robert Ellway; toast to St. David by John David; toast to the United States by Sarah Davis; and selections by vocalist Jenifer Jones Mosher and accompanist Sally Sampson.