Pittston Tomato Festival: Tomato Fights is ‘crazy fun’ event

By Tony Callaio - For Sunday Dispatch
With targets painted on their chests, these guys were an easy mark during a recent Tomato Fights. - Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch
Tomatoes fly across the parking lot at Cooper’s Waterfront during a recent Pittston Tomato Festival. - Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch
Clad in a tuxedo, this guy is serious about his Tomato Fights experience. - Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch
After pelting each other with tomatoes during the Tomato Fights, these two are still friends. - - Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch

Each and every year, people from all over northeastern PA gather for an event at the Pittston Tomato Festival that is absolutely crazy fun.

The Tomato Fights is a festival tradition that has gathered national attention over the years. This year, the fights will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 at Cooper’s Waterfront parking lot, Kennedy Boulevard.

The first ever-recorded tomato fight took place in Buñol, Spain in 1944. Today, Buñol holds the world’s largest tomato fights at the end of August with an estimated 50,000 people participating. More than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are used in the Spanish streets and the town literally turns a sea of red.

Since then, tomato fights have occurred at festivals all over the world, according to the Internet site, www.everything-tomatoes.net, where you will find a section on Pittston Tomato Festival’s fights, citing it as “one of the biggest Tomato Festivals” tomato fights.

Tomato fights occur in China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Nevada, Milwaukee and, in Colorado, those who live there battle it out with Texans.

It seems the Pittston Tomato Fights is similar in style with Grainger, Tennessee’s Tomato War whereas Pittston uses a parking lot and Grainger uses a field where two groups of participants face each other at short range and fire away.

Everythingtomatoes.net noted Pittston Tomatoes have cuts in the fruit that help prevents “hard-balling damage.”

Bushels of tomatoes are used during the Pittston Tomato Fights where each participant can grab a box full as ammunition.

Registration is conducted prior to the event and participants must be at least 15 years old to participate. For an entry fee of $10, each participant receives a t-shirt and protective goggles.

Approximately 150 people dress up or, in some cases, dress down to a bathing suit for the fights. In the past, some have dressed in tuxedos while, other times, teams dress in theme outfits.

According to Pittston Tomato Festival chair Lori Nocito, Pittston City Arts Council committee members will be on hand to assist with the fights.

All proceeds will benefit local charitiesus

With targets painted on their chests, these guys were an easy mark during a recent Tomato Fights.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Fights1-1.jpgWith targets painted on their chests, these guys were an easy mark during a recent Tomato Fights. Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch

Tomatoes fly across the parking lot at Cooper’s Waterfront during a recent Pittston Tomato Festival.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Fights2-1.jpgTomatoes fly across the parking lot at Cooper’s Waterfront during a recent Pittston Tomato Festival. Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch

Clad in a tuxedo, this guy is serious about his Tomato Fights experience.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_fights3-1.jpgClad in a tuxedo, this guy is serious about his Tomato Fights experience. Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch

After pelting each other with tomatoes during the Tomato Fights, these two are still friends.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_fights4-1.jpgAfter pelting each other with tomatoes during the Tomato Fights, these two are still friends. Tony Callaio file photos | For Sunday Dispatch

By Tony Callaio

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.