First Posted: 3/28/2013
After more than a half century, a St. Patrick’s Day parade will march down South Main Street again.
A group of 20 Pittston City officials and volunteers, who met Tuesday night at City Hall, tentatively set the Greater Pittston St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival for 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 16.
The celebration will be family-focused, and could include a large, heated tent on the Tomato Festival Lot. Inside would be a Irish celebration with crafts and wares for sale, face painting, entertaintment, food, music and dancing. Attendees would also be encouraged to enjoy the offerings of the downtown restaurants and bars and other businesses.
“We have a chance to do something unique in Pittston,” said Paul Reedy, one of the organizers.
Neighboring towns Wilkes-Barre and Scranton hold elaborate yearly parades, but Pittston hasn’t had the marching of the green down Main Street since the 1950s. Former President Harry S. Truman attended the city’s parade in 1956.
“It’s not about being Irish,” Reedy said. “It’s not about residing in Pittston. It’s about having community pride and spirit and showing off the downtown. That’s what it should be about.”
Former Mayor Mike Lombardo, who sits on the city’s Redevelopment Authority, urged tacking on a city celebration after the parade.
“How do we not compete with Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, how do we make it unique,” Lombardo asked. “How do we make it our own? How do we make this event a little bit different from what everyone else is doing?”
Lombardo said the plan was to create four signature events downtown: The Tomato Festival; Oktoberfest, which the city hopes to grow; a Christmas event; and now the St. Patrick’s Day parade and event.
Pittston has no problem hosting a large parade. The yearly Tomato Festival Parade draws tens of thousands of people to the downtown each year at the end of August.
Jim Deice, the chairman of the Tomato Festival Parade, told the group planning is key to a good parade.
Any group or organization interested in participating in the inaugural Greater Pittston St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festvial should contact Pittston’s Coordinator of Special Events Sarah E. Donahue at 654-0513, ex. 200, or email at email@example.com.
A second meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wedneswday, April 3, in the first floor conference room in Pittston City Hall. Anyone interested in helping plan the parade is urged to attend.