About Frank O. Mazza Civic Association
The Frank O. Mazza Civic Association is a community organization that organizes the annual Peterstown Cultural Festival to celebrate Italian-American heritage in Elizabeth. Founded by Frank O. Mazza, the descendent of Italian immigrants from Vallata, Avellino, the organization is now chaired by his son, Vito A. Mazza.
For more information about the Frank O. Mazza Civic Association or the Peterstown Cultural Festival, email Chairman Vito A. Mazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 732-309-1580.
The Peterstown neighborhood of Elizabeth includes Union Square which features many locally-owned meat, poultry, and seafood markets, as well as fresh produce, which makes the neighborhood feel like a village unto itself.
Peterstown in the southeastern part of the city and dates back to the 1800s when the land was owned by John and George Peters. German immigrants originally lived in the neighborhood during the areas first residential development in the late 1800s.
Peterstown became an Italian-American neighborhood by the 1920s. Many New Jersey Italian-Americans who have roots in the Peterstown neighborhood have deeper roots in the Avellino Province of Italy and are part of the Vallatesi community — those from or with ancestors from the town of Vallata. In present day Vallata, Avellino and in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the Vallatesi continue the long-held religious tradition to honor Saint Vito with a Mass and a procession on St. Vito’s feast day in June.
Because it’s an important Vallatesi cultural tradition, the Peterstown Cultural Festival has historically been linked to the Roman Catholic celebration of the Festa di San Vito. Saint Vito, a Christian martyr from Sicily, died in the 4th century in defense of his faith.
Several weeks before Elizabeth’s Peterstown Cultural Festival, on June 15, Elizabeth’s Saint Anthony Catholic Church holds a Mass honoring St. Anthony and St. Vito. Afterward, a procession takes place in which parishioners walk alongside statues of St. Anthony and St. Vito as they are carried through the streets of the Peterstown neighborhood. Check the parish bulletin the Sunday before June 15 for details.