Now celebrating 98 years, the popular Italian "feast" will be even more exciting with a musical lineup that rivals the best area festivals.
Locals can enjoy smooth jazz from renowned actor Danny Aiello and his band; the lovely guitar strumming of Grammy-nominated Julio Fernandez of Spyro Gyra; familiar tunes from popular cover band The Nerds; swing hits from local favorite Swingadelic, and Italian favorites from festival regular Cristina Fontanelli. See sidebar for complete music schedule.
The festival runs from Saturday, July 19 to Saturday, July 26 and typically draws thousands.
Food, celebrities, and crafts
For nearly 100 years, locals, celebrities, and dignitaries have visited the annual Italian festival for the delicious food and live music. Visitors have included former Pres. Ronald Reagan, who praised the zeppoles, and comedian Joe Piscopo, who sang Sinatra songs at the 2005 event.
St. Ann's zeppole, a fried dough ball that is covered in powdered sugar, is a closely guarded secret of the members of the St. Ann's Guild.
Another traditional dish at the festival is the sausage and pepper sandwich on a fresh baked Italian roll.
In addition to the food, there are stands filled with hand-crafted items such as jewelry, candles, and commemorative t-shirts.
Also popular among Hoboken's 20-something crowd is the outdoor garden near the café stage. Adults can enjoy a glass of beer or wine and soak up the sweet sound of live music.
Beatles' tribute band
There are many different kinds of music at the festival including jazz, rock, and Latin.
Strawberry Fields, a Beatles tribute band, will perform popular hits from the British legends.
Throughout the week, locals can feel the heat of the Latin beat as Ray Sepulveda takes the stage. Or dance to the rock of 3 Peace, which includes talented members of Lifespeed and Tommy Lee's guitarist J3.
Capping off the week is Danny Aiello, with Joe Geary & the Guys featuring rapper Hasan. Aiello and Hasan worked together on the classic standard "Besame Mucho," which became a hit with jazz and rap fans alike.
Closing the festival is former Hobokenite Cristina Fontanelli, who has performed on the feast day for almost a dozen years. She will sing Italian classics, show tunes, and more.
St. Ann's festival is held in St. Ann's square near Seventh and Jefferson streets. It is open every day from 6 to 11 p.m. On the last day, July 26, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
History of St. Ann's Festival
Since 1910, Hoboken and the parishioners of St. Ann's Church have celebrated the feast of St. Ann, the mother of the Virgin Mary, in their own special way. The festival is one of the city's oldest traditions and also includes a nightly novena service inside the Roman Catholic Church.
St. Ann is the patron saint of women and fertility. It has long been thought to be good luck for expectant mothers to touch the statue for an easy birth or for women wishing to get pregnant.
For 98 years, parishioners and young women have joined the annual procession that takes place on the last day of the festival. Female devotees pray to the saint as they carry the large 600-pound statue through the streets of Hoboken.
All main stage concerts begin at 8:15 p.m. July 19 - USO Liberty Bells tribute to the troops (main stage); Endsley & the River Crossing (café stage)
July 20 - Allesandra Belloni & I Giullari di Piazza (main stage); 3 Peace (café stage)
July 21 - The Nerds (main stage); Salsa Yoruba (café stage)
July 22 - Ray Sepulveda (main stage); Cat Lingo featuring Julio Fernandez (café stage)
July 23 - Swingadelic (main stage); John Ellis & Double Wide (café stage)
July 24 - Strawberry Fields (main stage); Jennifer Lampert & John Colianni Quintet (café stage)
July 25 - Danny Aiello (main stage); Stratospheerius (café stage)
July 26 - Cristina Fontanelli (main stage); Jeremy Beck & Rural Free Delivery (café stage) For more information, visit: www.st-annchurch.com.
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