PITTSTON — Another Tomato Festival has come and gone, and the city is now in relaxation mode after the fun-filled weekend of events, food, and live entertainment.
This year’s event was dampened by a lot of rain and thunderstorms, but residents from all over still turned out in droves to enjoy the festivities.
Despite the dampness, the 35th Annual Pittston Tomato Festival was a success as everybody gets themselves prepared for next year.
But before we turn our attention to 2019, here’s a brief recap of the 2018 event:
Run, run, run as fast as you can
The 20th annual Miles for Michael/Pittston Tomato Festival 5K was held prior to the parade, with runners and walkers filling up Main Street in preparation for the annual run.
Chris McCabe, of Carlisle, went for the three-peat as he took first place in the male category with a finishing time 15 minutes and 54 seconds.
Amy Viti, of Sugar Notch, finished first in the female group at a time of 20 minutes and 30 seconds.
A parade for all to see
There might have been a lot of rain this year, but thankfully the sun came out to play for a little while as thousands gathered along Main Street to witness one of the best parades in the Wyoming Valley.
Close to 80 groups participated in the parade, which was broadcast live on Fox 56 with festival chairperson Lori Nocito alongside TV personality Jane Adonizio.
This year’s Grand Marshal was Sam Valenti, city employee for 24 years who started as the director of sanitation before accepting the position of, in addition to, the Director of the Dept. of Public Works before retiring in 2017.
New queen crowned
Five area girls vied for the chance to be named the 2018 Tomato Festival Queen, but the crown could only go on one head.
That head belonged to Bianca Mazzarella, of Pittston, who was judged on an interview and her talent performance, in which she performed “Can’t Help Falling in Love” on the keyboard.
Other participants included Sofia Costagliola, 16, of Pittston; Gina Kirkpatrick, 18, of Pittston; and Gianna Paolini, 17, of Wyoming.
Mazzarella received a $500 cash scholarship from the Pittston Tomato Festival Committee.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Approximately 150 people gathered in the parking lot of Cooper’s Waterfront in Pittston for the annual Tomato Fights.
White shirts were turned red by the event’s conclusion, and residents even commented about how the rain made it more fun than usual.
Needless to say, some might be wishing for rain every year for the Tomato Fights.
Proceeds for the event benefited Greater Pittston charities.
A ‘perfect’ tomato contest
It’s not a Tomato Festival without actual tomatoes, as residents submitted their largest, ugliest, smallest and most perfect tomatoes for voting.
Gino Pavlico, of Pittston, took home the award for Most Perfect Tomato while Ted Kerpovich, of Kingston, won in the smallest tomato category, Debbie Lameroux, of Pittston, won in the Ugliest category and Mr. Sanvercock won in the Largest category.
A ‘saucy’ contest
Andy Perguinos, of Luzerne, was named this year’s Sauce Wars champion.
Also in the contest were last year’s winner PAZZO 315 of Pittston Township, Arcaro & Genell of Old Forge, Arcaro’s the Next Generation of Pittston, Cafe Italia of Jenkins Township, and Anthony’s Restaurant of Old Forge,.
The contest was a blind taste test and all proceeds go to the Greater Pittston Historical Society.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher