WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF)-It’s not yet time for the Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival! But one of the very first events to kick festivities off was tonight.

The 2022 Italian-American of the Year has just been named, and a familiar face just walked away with that honor tonight.

Anthony ‘Herk” Sparachane has just been named as the 2022 Italian-American of the Year.

“It means the world to me. It’s really testament to my mom and dad to get this. My brother got this award a few years ago. My mom and dad are the happiest people in heaven right now.”

Anthony “Herk” Sparachane, Italian-American of the year

Sparachane is a man of many hats. He’s a successful businessman who began his career in the family business in 1973 at the Flamingo Club in Benwood.

From there, his career quickly took off.

And a decade later, his family opened the Undo’s restaurant.

Sparachane also owned several other businesses, bars, and restaurants along the way, including the Alpha Tavern.

There’s no denying he’s a successful business man, but he’s also done a lot on the sidelines.

“He’s a very successful local businessman, but he’s also one of the most community-minded people I know. He’s worked tirelessly for non-profits. He’s set up scholarship funds.”

Michele Fabbro, Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival President

Along with that, Sparachane has helped many charities, fundrasing events, and youth sports teams in the area.

And after all he’s done for the Valley, the community has nothing left but to thank him.

“I just want to say ‘welcome a board’. I can’t wait to spend the year working with you, and I know you’ll bring a lot to the festival, and we really appreciate you accepting the honor.”

Michele Fabbro, Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival President

As always, there’s a lot more to look forward to this year. Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival is July 29th through the 31st.

There’ll be plenty of Italian food and entertainment to enjoy at the festival.