ELIZABETH, NJ - The 10th annual Peterstown Festival, which is also known as the Festa Di San Vito, will kick off tonight and feature four days of music, zeppoles, giveaways and rides.
The festivities start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Fourth Avenue and High Street until 11 p.m.
“It started half a block long with a beer stand, umbrella and little banner and now we’ve reached four blocks long,” said Festival Chairman Vito Mazza, who is Sixth Ward Councilman Frank Mazza’s son.
The festival is organized by the Frank O. Mazza Civic Association, a non-profit organization that promotes the health, safety and well-being of the community.
The festival’s name includes Peterstown, which is a name for the neighborhood in which the event will take place. Although the area is known for its Italian roots, Vito Mazza emphasized that the festival welcomes all cultures.
This year -- and in other years -- the festivities began in June with a procession of the statue of Saint Vito and a special mass at Saint Anthony of Padua Church. Although this festival is in its tenth year, the traditional procession has taken place in Elizabeth for 49 years, Vito Mazza said.
Vendors will be serving food and drinks, including gyros, corn on the cob, sangria, beer and more. DiCosmo’s Italian Ice, a small, family-owned shop in the city for over 100 years, will also be on hand.
On Thursday, festival organizers will honor Superintendent Scholars. On Friday, three coaches -- Ben Candelino, Phil Collichio and Anthony Colletti -- will be recognized. Three local business owners will be honored too: John Sacco of Sacco's Meat Market, Jim Desalvo of Cleveland Auto & Tire and Carl Corsentino of Corsentino Funeral Home.
Last year, Vito Mazza estimated anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people attended the festival over the four-day period.
“We’re a family-orientated festival,” Vito Mazza said. “We want families here.”
All days of the festival will run from 6:30 to 11 p.m. except for Sunday, which will run from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The festival will continue rain or shine, Vito Mazza said. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page or contact Vito Mazza at 732-309-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.