In the past several weeks RootsTech 2017 has announced some of the keynotes for RootsTech 2017 and Family Discovery Day. RootsTech keynotes will be Buddy Valastro on Saturday, LaVar Burton on Friday, with Thursday’s soon to be announced. Family Discovery Day speakers will include Kalani Sitake, Hank Smith, and Vai Sikahema.
Buddy Valastro is a 4th generation baker, and TV personality on the Cake Boss. He worked side by side with his father in the family business, Carlo’s Bakery, from the age of 11 years old. He inherited the business six years later when his father unexpectedly passed away. Buddy Sr., the original Cake Boss, followed in the path of his father and his father, both bakers in Sicily. Buddy Sr. bought Carlo’s Bakery from Carlo Guastaffero in 1963. You don’t mess with an Italian la famiglia, if you know what I mean. The Cake Boss is Buddy Jr.’s original hit TLC series. Spinoffs include Cake Boss: Next Great Baker (a competition for a chance to work alongside the Valastro family at Carlo’s) and Buddy’s Bakery Rescue (Buddy helps other struggling, family bakeries). He has opened a string of bakeries, authored several books, made nationwide tours, and opened a restaurant in Vegas. Creating amazing cakes connects him with his father and his Italian family history. Come see why mixing eggs, sugar, butter, and flour means a lot more than “making a cake” to Buddy Valastro.
LaVar Burton has appeared in Reading Rainbow, Star Trek the Next Generation, and the 1970s television miniseries that launched his career, Roots. He has been an actor, director, producer, writer, and speaker. He has a passion for literacy, storytelling, and imagination. Reading Rainbow (1983-2009) earning more than 200 awards including 26 Emmys and a Peabody. “The story of Roots traces a family's journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I'll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American experience,” LaVar said.
RootsTech 2017 will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, 8-11 February 2017. Learn more on the RootsTech 2017 website.
Family Discovery Day is a free event for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to be held 11 February 2017 in Salt Lake City. While free, registration is required. Attendees are invited to come and hear inspiring messages, engage in interactive activities for all ages, and discover the latest technology, products and services in the family history industry by touring the expansive expo hall. Kalani Sitake, Hank Smith, and Vai Sikahema will be some of the speakers. More will be announced soon.
Kalani Sitake is the current head football coach at Brigham Young University where he played as a running back in his college days. He came to BYU from Oregon State, where he served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Hank Smith, a popular speaker, author, and professor of religion at Brigham Young University, loves to teach from the scriptures, especially to the youth and young adults of the Church. Vai Sikahema is a former football player for BYU (including playing on the 1984 national championship team) and for the NFL (1986-1993). He currently works as a sportscaster in Philadelphia. I was at student at the Y and watched his fearless kickoff returns and they were amazing. I heard a devotional he gave at BYU and it was wonderful.