Kathy Derene of Greenwich remembers a young girl watching her grandmother cook pizza fritta during St. Roch's feast. Now she is among dozens of volunteers bringing the celebration back to life in honor the Christian saint.
The Very Rev. Canon Matthew R. Mauriello kicked off the festivities Wednesday evening with a Mass followed by a procession in which a statue of St. Roch was carried to the front lawn of the church.
"I am very proud of the feast," said lifelong parishioner Debra Wartman. "It hasn't been this big in a long time, and I hope it's a success."
The festival lapsed last year after the retirement of the Rev. Nicholas Calabro. This year, Mauriello said, the church has revived the festival and expanded it. There are raffles, rides, a number of vendors and of course, delicious food, including pizza fritta, a traditional Neapolitan street food.
"We have added lots of festive decorations and lights to get people into the spirit of the celebration," he said. Greenwich Police have blocked off the red-, white- and green-decorated St. Roch Avenue so festival-goers can stroll among the activities.
"I like the cotton candy and popcorn," said Christopher Munoz, 4, a Byram resident. The festival's return had residents in good spirits. "I'm so glad that it's back in the neighborhood," said Derene..
The festivities continue through Sunday when the statue of St. Roch is carried through Chickahominy.