PITTSTON CITY — This year’s Tomato Festival Parade features two grand marshals, and while one is homegrown, the other is no stranger to Pittston City.
Pittston Area Secondary Center graduate, former Miami Dolphins wide receiver and current radio personality Jimmy Cefalo will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf serving as honorary grand marshal. Wolf’s last visit to Pittston was in June, during his Jobs That Pay Tour. This time, Wolf will get a tour of downtown Pittston at its most festive.
“I am honored to be a part of this tremendous annual event in Pittston,” Wolf said. “Each year, tens of thousands flock to Northeastern Pennsylvania to attend the Tomato Festival and it is a great example of the many hometown traditions that make Pennsylvania a great and unique place to live and visit.”
Cefalo said he tries to visit Pittston at least once a year to see family and friends, including the Lombardo family. Mayoral candidate and Tomato Festival Committee member Mike Lombardo said he’s excited to have his friend serve as grand marshal.
“He’s certainly one of the best and the brightest in terms of athletics and even just as a person that’s come from our city and our school district,” Lombardo said. “We’re really excited to celebrate him coming back.”
This isn’t the first time Cefalo has received the honor of grand marshaling the Tomato Festival Parade — he served as grand marshal in the late 1980s — but Cefalo will make this year’s honor special by getting up close and personal with parade-watchers.
“They asked if I wanted to ride in a car and I said I’d rather just walk to see more people that I know and see folks I probably haven’t seen in 40 years,” Cefalo said.
Cefalo said the title is a great honor and, although Pittston has undergone many changes since he left, he’s happy his hometown hasn’t forgotten him.
“I think what Pittston has done, Michael and the rest of the folks, Rose Randazo, all the folks there have done a great job with the town overall,” Cefalo said. “I didn’t recognize it last time I was back. It’s just pretty and there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the artwork. The Tomato Festival is certainly a crowning jewel in what Pittston has become.”
The Tomato Festival Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Street closures will begin at 9:30 a.m.