PITTSTON — Despite several inches of snow Friday, the fifth annual Pittston St. Patrick’s was deemed a success — bringing a bit of Ireland to Main Street in song, dance and spirit.
Favorite parade entries included Knights of Columbus Color Guard, Little Miss and Mister Pittston Leprechaun, Wyoming Valley Pipe & Drum Band, and any float from which candy spilled onto the street to the delight of children.
Leading the parade and accepting the official Grand Marshal sash were family members of Joseph Keating, who was slated to be Grand Marshal, but passed away in January.
“Keating was a wonderful man, a mayor, a fire chief, a school board member,” said parade committee member Jim McFarland, as he made his way out of an early morning Mass at St. John the Evangelist to kick off the day. “He was well loved and we commemorated him during the service.”
Joe Long, president of the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, said, “It’s important to celebrate both our heritage and our faith.”
Ken and Lindsay Rysz, of Wilkes-Barre, watching the parade from a curbside seat, attended the parade for the first time with their niece Lily.
“We really enjoy being able to do things like this with family,” said Rysz. “I don’t know exactly how Irish I am but, on parade day, everyone is Irish.”
City Administrator Joseph Moskovitz said the parade was made possible by the efforts of the mayor, current and former city administrators, city employees and volunteers.
Regarding Friday’s snowstorm, Moskoitz said, “Well, it was the luck of the Irish. Bad luck in regard to the inches of snow and good luck in that we were able to get the city prepared for the parade through the efforts of many.”
Enjoying the parade from in front of Majestic Lunch, Barbara Meranti and her family were enjoying the parade, which has become a tradition.
Allie Meranti, 12, clad in green from head-to-toe, including a bright green tutu, enjoyed seeing many of her friends on a Saturday.
“I didn’t know if the parade was going to happen,” Barbara said. “But, it did and we’re enjoying it.”
Callahan’s Cafe opened Saturday for attendees of the parade, many lingering over a cup of coffee, a bit of heat and good conversation.
Server Kelsey Jones said, “As soon as we opened at 9:00, people were coming in.”
Mary Clare Leonard, of Pittston, and her sister-in-law Mary Leonard, had come for a bite following Mass and before the parade.
“We come to the parade every year,” she said. “We start at church, get something to eat and then on to the parade.”
Missy Mitchell-Wedsko, a parade committee member, said the parade had a terrific turnout, although she did not offer a specific number of attendees.
“I’m actually jumping up and down,” she said. “We said, ‘There will be a parade’ and there was.”
Linda Barlett, a parade committee member throughout the event’s history, said the parade continues to grow, but is heavily influenced by the weather.
“We knew when we scheduled an event so early in the year, it might be really cold or snowy,” said Moskovitz. “But Pittston has again shown its heritage, not only because of its many Irish residents, but in its commitment to others and willingness to work hard to help.”
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