Five generations flock to western Massachusetts to celebrate 50th family reunion

Sep 06, 2019 283

Much has changed in the world since 1945 when Julia Valenti organized the first family reunion for her, her eight siblings, and their families. One thing that hasn’t changed in the years since is the tradition of gathering to celebrate family. After a brief hiatus from 1966 to 1968, the Valenti Open, as the reunion is known, has been held every year since 1969, making this year the 50th family reunion. Normally about 100 people attend, but this year 150 people from different branches of the Valenti family tree came to catch up and reminisce.

“There’s a lot that live in Massachusetts, but not many that live in the Springfield area,” Julie Lavoie, daughter of Julia Valenti, said about her many relatives. Lavoie, who now lives in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, said family came from California, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Lavoie’s Aunt Margaret Setterlund, who will turn 98 this month, attended the reunion. She is the last member of the generation that began the tradition in the 1940s.

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