WEST PITTSTON — It was the Year of Beer in 2015, but 2016 will be the Year of Pizza.
Through a series of programs sponsored by the West Pittston Library between March and October, participants will have the opportunity to not only learn about the food for which NEPA is nationally known, but also how to make it.
Adult Programming Coordinator for the West Pittston Library Jen Moran said the idea for the Year of Pizza was suggested by a participant at one of the Year of Beer events.
“When we were at one of our Year of Beer events one of our patrons, who was coming to a lot of programs, said, ‘If you do this again next year you should do pizza,’” she said. “Who doesn’t like pizza and where else in the world can you find so many different pizza places, different types of pizza and so many people that have visceral reactions to their favorite pizza places?”
Moran said more than 150 people participated in the Year of Beer programs and said they have gotten numerous calls for Year of Pizza registrations, which are still being taken.
Businesses on board for the events include Sabatini’s Pizza in Exeter, the Dough Company in Wilkes-Barre, Colarusso’s in Avoca, Bettelli’s Villa in Wilkes-Barre and Revello’s Pizza in Old Forge.
The business owners will do programs either at their restaurants or at the library.
“I (really) appreciate that they are taking time time away from their restaurants to come here and even allowing us to go to their restaurant,” Moran said. “If there is one thing I found out when planning this program it’s that pizzeria owners work just about 24 hours a day, every day.”
Lindo Sabatini, owner of Sabatini’s Pizza, will give a tour of the restaurant and participants will get a hands-on demonstration on how to make their own pizzas.
Having been part of the Year of Beer, Sabatini said he was more than happy to jump on board with the Year of Pizza program.
“We worked with them (at the library) with the Year of Beer and it was a lot of fun and people enjoyed it,” he said. “When they asked us about the Year of Pizza we said yes. They’re a fun group of people there at the library, and it was a no-brainer for us.”
One program the library will offer for the Year of Pizza is learning about Italian immigration from assistant director of the Lackawanna Historical Society Sarah Piccini.
Piccini will talk about immigration from 1880 to 1930 to the Greater Pittston area, but said she will try her best to incorporate pizza into the discussion.
“Obviously with the Italian immigrants, pizza is their food,” she said. “It’s what is typically associated with Italian immigration. I wasn’t planning on touching too much on pizza, more on the immigration experience and not dining options.”
West Pittston Library Director Anne Bramblett Barr said the purpose of doing history and hands-on events is to help educate the community about pizza from many different perspectives.
“What’s cool about our themed programs is that we try to offer programs that attract people who are interested in history, nutrition, entrepreneurship, business or a hands-on approach,” she said. “What’s so great about it is we have this theme and with those themes you can strike a nerve with a lot of different people in a lot of different things.”
With the “Year of…” becoming an annual program for the West Pittston Library, Moran and Bramblett Barr are already brainstorming for next year.
“We’re looking at what’s in the area and what’s available for the people,” said Moran. “We’re looking at what you can do by going out your front door.”