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Bentivegna: Festival of the Bonfires represents American Way of Life

Most people might not know this. I was born on September 11, 2001.

That was the day the United States was attacked by terrorists, causing thousands of deaths and creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

Of course, I don’t remember that day or the months following. I have made sure that I learned more about history, terrorism and understand why national security is important. When I think about those issues, the pageant world doesn’t seem that important.

Then, I realize that the Festival of the Bonfires is really significant. The Festival and pageant are long-time traditions in our community. It is part of the American way of life that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

As Teen Miss Festival of the Bonfires this past year, I have had experiences that I am sure every little girl dreams about. Wearing a crown and beautiful dresses is not just fun, it does make you feel beautiful and special.  

I will never forget how I felt the first time I heard my name called out as the new Teen Miss last year.  

I think my family and friends may grow tired of hearing me talk about what a wonderful experience this year has been for me. But I want to share it one more time. As my reign comes to an end, I am so proud and honored to have represented St. James Parish and the Festival of the Bonfires.  St. James Parish is my home, and I now know more about my community and the wonderful people who live here. Travelling to the different fairs and festivals has been an experience I will always treasure. I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience culture at its best.

Thank you to everyone who oversees the Festival of the Bonfires and to those who visit us for the event. We are all blessed to be able to enjoy such a unique event.

— Breleigh Ann Bentivegna