The History Behind St. Ann’s Feast and Festival

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Fasten your seatbelts because you are about to go on a little ride back in time for some sweet #HobokenTBT. This Hoboken throwback is dedicated to the St. Ann’s Feast, which starts Wednesday, July 24th, and is visited by pretty much all of Hoboken at some point — mingling and noshing on some delectable Italian dishes and treats {read: zeppoles and fried everything}, count us in. But the St. Ann’s Festival isn’t a celebration of sinfully delicious fried food and fun games. So, let’s take a peek at the history behind the St. Ann’s Feast + Festival, shall we? Keep reading to discover the history behind St. Ann’s Feast and Festival. 

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Immigrants from San Giacomo

While the City of Hoboken has a mix of many people from all types of backgrounds, there is an abundance of Italians who reside here {which contributes to our town’s unique culture and energy}. However, most don’t know that the roots of many Italians are the people from San Giacomo {a province of Salerno, Italy which was named after St. James the Apostle} who immigrated to Hoboken in the late 1800s/early 1900s in hopes of creating a better life. Of course, the new Hoboken residents still had their strong feelings for and attachments to Italy. The San Giacomese Hobokenites wanted to keep their religious and traditional values — which inspired them to establish the St. Ann’s society, a group that encouraged the values from their village.

About the St. Ann’s Society + Parish

The members of the St. Ann’s society had their meetings in a basement located at 4th and Jefferson back in the day. As time passed, and more people found out about the society, the amount of people joining exponentially grew, and because of this, members were able to purchase a storefront spot located at 7th and Adams.

During the year 1900, the St. Ann’s parish was established — and priests started to perform religious services, all taking place in a mini area of the storefront on Adams. This went on to become a chapel. 

Soon after, the parish purchased a property on the corner of 7th and Jefferson, in hopes of establishing an actual church and rectory — with its first cornerstone laid on November 1st, 1903. The project was completed by 1905, according to the church’s website, opening on December 12th of that year.

See More: #HobokenTBT — The History of Columbus Park

How the St. Ann’s Fest Came to Be

Since the construction of the church was a grand success, the St. Ann’s Society was inspired to celebrate —  a grand “festa” {feast in Italian} in honor of St. Ann and the beloved traditions of the San Giacomese. To raise funds for the celebration, members went from door to door in Hoboken to get that cash money for the festival. Talk about dedication.

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In July of 1910, their wishes {and funds} for a festival were finally granted, and the San Giacomese were able to have two celebrations — the feast of St. Giacomo and the St. Ann’s Feast.

Fast forward to today and the St. Ann’s Feast has not changed much, however, the festival runs for six days instead of two {lucky us!}. Rides, games for kids {and adults}, live music and — wait for it… fried everything are just a few pieces of the fun! There will also be zeppoles, Oreos, obviously lots of mozzarella, and other delish offerings from local Italian eateries. But you already knew that, if you follow HG.

Other fun historical facts you probably didn’t know:

  • Father Mauro Landini was a priest who came to Hoboken in 1947 and began renovations on the church. A few of his additions? Bronze chandeliers and a statue of Lady of Fatima {made in Italy} of Carrara marble.
  • In 1973, Father Richard Baranello had an air-conditioning system installed in the church so that all could come and pray/attend services even when it was really hot out.
  • For the 85th Feast of St. Ann, the Hoboken City Council voted unanimously in 1995 to rename the section of Jefferson Street in front of the church and Friary as “Saint Ann’s Square.”

Well, there you have it. A little Hoboken history for your day. Now when you head to St. Ann’s feast next week, make sure to think about the San Giacomese and all the hard work they put into honoring their heritage and St. Ann. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be sitting here, eating zeppoles. JUST sayin’.

Have old-school/vintage photos of Hoboken that you want to share {with a story go along}? Email hello@hobokengirl.com. We’d love to hear from you!


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Aida is a full-time reporter for the Town News, a part of North Jersey Media Group, and she received her Bachelor’s in Journalism from NJCU back in 2012. When she isn’t out investigating sources and digging up interesting Hoboken history, she is training at CKO kickboxing in Hoboken. Aida is Instagram and food-obsessed {and you can see her love of both by searching the hashtag #adamandaidatakethecity}. Aside from eating her way around town, Aida spends time shopping in NYC, reading actual books {no e-books to be found}, and spending quality time with her boyfriend, parents, older brother, and cocker poodle, Benji.