Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition begins preparations for this year’s Riverfest

By Jimmy Fisher -

DURYEA — Riverfest is only a few months away, and the Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition (GPCC) is hitting the ground running preparing for the annual event.

This time, however, the group is under new leadership.

Bob Price was recently named president of the GPCC after former president Sam Washington elected to stepped down to focus on other projects.

Price has a lot on his plate with the organization, but his top priority right now is Riverfest.

“We need to get that organized, put together and have everybody on one page and marching forward to make this is a successful year,” he said.

Riverfest is a free event for patrons and the organization earns funds for the event through vendors who pay $35 to participate.

All proceeds from vendors are used to cover the cost of the event and to begin planning next year’s. The remainder of the money for Riverfest comes from the GPCC which earns it through donations and soliciting.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.

There won’t be many changes to the event, but Price wants to make it more family-friendly and provide different presenters, food, and activities such as a touch-a-truck event.

“It’s basically based on the culture and history of the area,” Price said. “That’s our main focus with it. But, we need stuff to get people in the door.”

Presenters dress in costume to provide a background story on Greater Pittston, particularly during the coal mining era.

While the event is typically along the river bank, Price said the committee is looking to hold more events in the parking lot of Cooper’s on the Waterfront.

“I know for Riverfest you want to be near the river, but people didn’t want to be strolling along the water,” he said. “So, we’re going to move things into the parking lot and people are more likely to see everybody.”

“It’ll be more concentrated instead of spread out along the park area,” added Al Pesotine, GPCC treasurer. “It was hard for a lot of the elderly people to get down into the park area, so we moved everything up top. It seemed to work really good last year, but we lacked a lot of advertising, in my opinion.”

More activities are still being planned for Riverfest, and the GPCC can use all the help it can get setting up and taking down the stage the day of the event.

“We need more people involved and more people to help with the event,” Price said. “Even if they’re not part of the organization and they want to come out that day to help with the event. There’s setup, there’s helping with the crowds and helping with everything during the day. We can use all of the help we can get.”

Anyone interested can attend the next GPCC meeting which will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22 in the Duryea Borough Building, 315 Main St.
Event will be held Sept. 15 at Roverfront Park

By Jimmy Fisher

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

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