Soggy day for tomato fans

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com | August 21st, 2015 10:38 am

PITTSTON — Rain, rain, go away!

Unfortunately, no nursery rhymes asking for clear skies would do the trick as the opening night for the 32nd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival on Thursday was met with heavy downpours when it opened at 5 p.m., causing the decision for the opening ceremonies to be postponed to tonight, at 5:30 p.m.

The opening ceremony will see festival committee members and volunteers being recognized, as well as parade grand marshall Tom Sewatsky.

Lori Nocito, chairperson for the festival, said postponing it was the right call.

“It makes sense to have the opening ceremonies tomorrow night due to the weather,” said Nocito. “I’m sure we’ll have a much bigger crowd then, but I’m thrilled there are a lot of people here, now.”

Despite the rain, people came out to support their local vendors and chow down on some delicious food.

West Pittston residents Robert and Helen Smith were in attendance, along with their 6-year-old granddaughter Aleca Johnston.

Robert said they attend the festival all four days and have been doing so for the last 10 to 15 years.

“I eat my way around the place,” he said. “The food is good and you’re supporting the local people. My other granddaughter works for Maer’s BBQ.”

Vendors come from far and wide to be part of the tomato festival, but some favorite vendors can be found right in Greater Pittston.

Marinacci’s Restaurant out of West Wyoming has been a vendor at the Pittston Tomato Festival for only two years, but owner Patti Marinacci has always been a big fan of the annual event.

“It’s a good community project to get involved in,” she said. “It’s great advertising for your business and it helps get the word out of what you have.”

Marinacci said they will not only be selling some of their best lunchtime and dinner foods, but also dessert foods such as pie.

“They’re such a big seller at the restaurant that I get a lot of requests for them and that’s why I thought I’d try them this year,” she said. “Plus, there’s only one other dessert booth here so I thought I’d try it.”

With a decent sized crowd still on hand for the festival and clearer skies on the horizon, Nocito is excited for more people to attend when the weather gets better, but knows nothing will stop the festival from having a good crowd.

“I know that people will come out in the rain,” she said. “The rain won’t stop some of our die-hard festival goers.”

Lori Nocito, chair of the 32nd Annual Tomato Festival, checks the rain situation at the opening of the festival on Thursday evening. The rain was steady for a good part of the evening cancelling opening ceremonies to this evening at 5:30 p.m.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_TomatoFestival_TL_2_toned.jpgLori Nocito, chair of the 32nd Annual Tomato Festival, checks the rain situation at the opening of the festival on Thursday evening. The rain was steady for a good part of the evening cancelling opening ceremonies to this evening at 5:30 p.m. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Bob Duliba and his wife Mary Ann, of West Pittston, try to stay dry under an umbrella while stopping for dinner at opening night of the Pittston Tomato Festival on Thursday.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_TomatoFestival_TL_1_toned.jpgFormer Major League Baseball pitcher Bob Duliba and his wife Mary Ann, of West Pittston, try to stay dry under an umbrella while stopping for dinner at opening night of the Pittston Tomato Festival on Thursday. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Tomato Festival opening ceremonies tonight

By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher


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