HARWICH — The weather and the warmth of the Cape Verde community made for a wonderful day in Brooks Park on Saturday, with music, dance and food defining the island's culture of the Second Annual Cape Verdean Festival.
The Cape Verdean community here has long been an instrumental part of the town. Selectman Ed McManus said he is proud of the part its played, including early contributions to the fishing and cranberry industries and major roles in the leadership of Harwich, such as the late Police Chief John Raneo and Albert Raneo, the former highway department superintendent, who was in attendance.
Cape and Islands Senator Julian Cyr said the Speaker of the National Assembly of Cape Verde spoke to the Massachusetts Senate last week about the rich ties between Massachusetts and Cape Verde. Cyrs said the festival was a vibrant tribute to the community.
But the major focus of the day was the late James G. “Jimmy” Marceline, who passed away in January at the age of 92. In a presentation by Angelina Chilaka, Marceline was cited for helping people across the Cape during his many years as a community leader. She also related the importance of his participation in town meetings over the years. She also lauded his commitment to education, including providing the land for Cape Cod Regional Technical High School.
Albert Raneo called Marceline a gift, noting the range of gifts and services Marceline contributed to the town and country, having served in World War II and being taken as a prisoner of war in the Battle of the Bulge.
“His activities have been so extensive, it would almost seem a lifetime could not encompass them all. Yet he found time and energy to serve his country, to work and to lead. His personal sacrifices, his devotion and his generous labors and gifts have helped to improve the conditions of our town,” Raneo said. “And his dignity and character gained him the love of all in this town.”
The festival committee presented Mary Rita Leyva, Marceline's eldest daughter, with a community service award for her father's commitment to community. Leyva noted the importance of community to her father. She spoke of being a kid growing up in Harwich at a time when there were no boundaries. This was the first community service award made by the Cape Verdean Festival Committee.
After the brief presentation the festival became one of music, dance and food.