Fort Worth residents bundled up in cars parked throughout the Coyote Drive-In Theater on Oct. 29 to celebrate the city’s 35-year anniversary with Reggio Emilia, Italy.
The evening began with a video message from Mayor Betsy Price and Reggio Emilia Mayor Luca Vecchi shown on the big screen. To cap off the evening, the crowd was treated to pizza and the 2003 film The Italian Job.
Reggio Emilia also held a celebration in Italy for this long and fruitful relationship.
In a recent letter from Vecchi to Price, Vecchi said: “In a challenging period like this, we strongly believe that international exchanges and collaborations are an important lever for the relaunch of our community, economy and the values we believe in. I wish a happy anniversary to you, hoping to see you next year.”
Thirty-five years ago, Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen and Reggio Emilia Mayor Ugo Benassi signed documents to establish Fort Worth’s first sister city relationship with Reggio Emilia. The Reggio City Chair at that time, Mary Palko, then took the reins, and the first inbound exchange took place when 135 runners from Reggio Emilia participated in the Cowtown Marathon.
Later that year, Fort Worth Sister Cities received its first national recognition: the Reader’s Digest Award for Best New Program.
Originally a Roman fortress situated in the Apennine foothills of northern Italy, this historic city is home to spectacular cathedrals and palazzos dating back to the 12th century, the Municipal Theater and a famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory.
Fort Worth’s relationship with this amazing city offers equally amazing opportunities for Fort Worth citizen-diplomats, the city said.
In addition to exchanges featuring the daily life and culture of Italy, Italian cooking and language classes and visits to the nearby city of Florence, the program is recognized for developing numerous and unique first-ever exchanges.