My Corner, Your Corner: Greater Pittston is good at giving back

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio | August 26th, 2016 8:03 pm

With the exception of a rainy Sunday, I’d say the 2016 Tomato Festival was pretty successful.

The new multipurpose building named after this year’s grand marshal, James Zarra, was a perfect fit as it housed the festival headquarters, merchandise stand, and the Sauce Wars. The garage bays store Tomato Festival equipment and Second Friday Art Walk tents, among other items.

Look for the next phase of the project to be completed next year, in which a stage will be completed as well as a dressing room for entertainment acts to utilize.

It was great to see the overall winner of the Miles for Michael/Tomato Festival 5K race was a Greater Pittston native. Wyoming Area graduate Chris McCabe took this year’s title.

The festival was sandwiched by rain when it sprinkled a bit on opening night and then on Sunday, the rain affected the evening’s entertainment schedule, cancelling the night’s musical acts. Even though the music was cancelled, it didn’t stop people from coming by one last time for a meal.

Organizers plan to utilize the parking lot of the Pittston Memorial Library to add a third tier for possibly the children’s rides and entertainment.

Just when you thought the festival couldn’t get bigger, it can.

The parade was, once again, televised on FOX 56-TV. Pittston natives Jane Adonizio and Lori Nocito along with Greater Pittstonian Erin Dugan. The trio made a great team in showcasing Pittston.

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright and state Rep. Michael Carroll were fixtures along the parade route. Greater Pittston has been an important stop for many politicians throughout the years.

Fall is here

With the Tomato Festival over, Greater Pittston turns its attention to a sports-packed fall from Pittston Area and Wyoming Area. Can you believe week 1 is now in the books for high school football?

Next on the agenda is Paint Pittston Pink, in which the entire City of Pittston gets involved in raising money for cancer under the organization of the event’s creator, Barbara Sciandra.

Barbara and gang at Paint Pittston Pink had a booth at the Tomato Festival creating awareness and raising money for the event. Paint Pittston Pink will begin on Oct. 10 and run through Oct. 24. There will be events, prizes and even a bunch of guys wearing high heels racing down the streets of Pittston, all to raise money to fight cancer.

The Wyoming Area Kiwanis also had a booth to promote and sell tickets for the upcoming Duck Derby and barbecue. Over 1,000 little toy ducks will be dropped into the Susquehanna River from the Fort Jenkins Bridge floating to the Water Street Bridge before retrieving the top three duck finishers. The winner will collect $500, second place gets $300 and third place snags $200.

The chicken barbecue will take place at 3 p.m. Sept. 4, followed by the Duck Derby at 4 p.m. at the Cherry Blossom Festival grounds in West Pittston. There will be games for children as well.

Another great fundraiser took place recently to raise money for Dr. Jen’s Hope Foundation in honor of the late Dr. Jennifer Sidari. Dr. Jen was an incredible person that lit up a room with her smile. She was talented, outgoing, and an intelligent woman that wanted to help people for her career.

Through her family’s dedication in seeing her life’s work continue, the Dr. Jen’s Hope Foundation was created. The foundation helps many local organizations including The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) in Scranton, where Dr. Jen was in the inaugural graduating class.

This coming Wednesday, Aug. 31, TCMC and the Dr. Jen’s Hope Foundation will announce the very first full scholarship to TCMC as a result of all the foundation’s fundraising efforts.

There’s no doubt in my mind, when the residents of Greater Pittston band together for a cause, it is done with all heart and soul.

Quote of the week

“Never a lip is curved with pain that can’t be kissed into smiles again.” – Bret Harte, American writer.

Thought of the week

“The man who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher.

Bumper sticker

“Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.” – Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian poet.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at