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Tradition Springs From Rides, Games, Pizza Frittas At Mamaroneck Festival

Jackie Mannix reaches out for her mom, Fran, as she goes round-and-round on a ride, along with Sofia Butini (right) at St. Vito's Festa Thursday. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
For her 76th birthday Christine Pacewicz (center) attended the St. Vito's Festa with her daughter, Beth (top) and granddaughter, Sofia (bottom). Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Fran Mannix watched her three daughters go round-and-round on rides old and new at the annual St. Vito’s Festa Thursday, the first night of the four-day event.

While riding the Sizzler, Mannix’s daughters, Rachael, Ruby and Jackie, made a new friend in Sofia Butini, 6. Her mother, Beth, said they were also there to celebrate Sofia’s grandmother, Christine Pacewicz’s 76th birthday.

Like Beth, Mannix, who owns Children’s Creative Corner in Larchmont, grew up attending the Festa.

“I grew up coming here and my mother always volunteered,” Mannix said. “And I sort of just make it at least one night. It’s a really fun thing.”

Her mother helps cook the pizza frittas, which are the highlight of the event for many, including Brian Welsh, who also attended the Festa as a child. The formula may be simple, but if you ask anyone at the Festa, most will tell you there’s something special about their pizza frittas.

Another long-time volunteer and St. Vito’s parishioner Francesca Tomassetti said the pizza frittas “go like crazy.” The native of Italy helped cook the calamari, meatballs, sausage and peppers, eggplant parmesan, among other dishes this year.

“Everything is pretty popular,” she said. “We don’t have much left over. Everything kind of goes. It’s not fancy or anything it’s just like a family-style thing that we do. And I enjoy being here and helping wherever I can.”

After adding Spanish food to the menu last year, Parish Manager Joe Comblo said they added clams and American Grille food this year, including hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, French fires and chicken wings.

“Every year we keep growing,” he said.

Kathy Horner, of Pelham, grew up attending the Festa in the 1980s. Her family has lived in Mamaroneck 44 years and her mother has taken her daughter to the Festa since it re-launched in 2011.

This year, Horner brought her daughter, who played several games, including Tubs of Fun.

“It’s my first time at the Festa in a long time,” she said. “But, my daughter has been here every year.”

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