It’s a terrific tradition that in years past combined two holidays – St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day – held to honor the area’s Irish and Italian populations, respectively.
It’s also a tradition unlike any other, simply because no person – not even the president’s best friend or daughter – knows who will be crowned King and Queen of the Manton Seniors, one of Rhode Island’s longest-operating senior citizen organizations.
“I pick the couple,” Lorie DeVito, longtime president of the Manton Seniors and a two-time cancer survivor, offered earlier this week. “They must be married; I will not pick a boyfriend and girlfriend, either.”
DeVito, who initiated the unique King and Queen ceremony many moons ago, also announced she’s set to name the unique nonprofit’s 2019 royal couple on Sunday, March 17, during the annual Valentine’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner/Dance that will be held at famed Twelve Acres Restaurant in Smithfield.
“This year’s party will actually be held on St. Patrick’s Day,” DeVito said, “and that hasn’t happened for quite some time.”
So, who will succeed Manny and Zoila Guerra as the Manton Seniors King and Queen?
When asked if she would – or could – offer a hint, DeVito steadfastly stated: “No way; then it wouldn’t be a surprise at the party.”
The surprise announcement, which will again be backed by the music of the Calamari Brothers trio, is always special and filled with surprises.
A year ago, in fact, Manny and Zoila Guerra were sitting with their granddaughter Daniella, then 10, who seemed somewhat stunned when DeVito announced her choice for the Manton Seniors 2018 King and Queen.
“The surprise announcement makes the day special,” DeVito said. “Some people come to the dinner/dance to see what couple will wear out crowns for the next year.”
The Valentine’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner/Dance will begin at noon on March 17, allowing attendees to register and purchase tickets for the day’s multi-prize raffle. Tickets cost $30 per person and may be purchased by calling DeVito at 232-4944.
DeVito said membership in the Manton Seniors is not required to attend the event.
In keeping with tradition, the menu will again include a corned beef and cabbage dinner or scrod.