Despite a lot of rain, 35th Annual Tomato Festival continues without a hitch

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com
Ron Faraday, City of Pittston facilities manager, was seen vacuuming the grounds of the Tomato Festival early Sunday morning. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Brandi Bartush got a kick out of her niece Mia Bartush as she snapped a few photos of her. Mia tied with Violet Pantucci as the 2018 Little Miss Tomato. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Nancy and Armond Casagrande, of Wyoming, grabbed lunch while at the festival on Sunday. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Hazle and Jimmy Pepe, listening to a speaker at the bandshell, had a front row, center seats each and every day of the festival, rain or shine. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
When 4 year old Nicky Zbylicki, of Duryea, was asked what his favorite thing was at the Tomato Festival by MC Sarah Donahue, his answer was, “Everything.” - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Alissa Marianacci was serving up desserts at the Marianacci’s Restaurant stand made by her Aunt Patricia Marianacci. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Maria Panatieri, 3 1/2, of Pittston, looks at the number of the bottom of the duck at the Wyoming Area Kiwanis stand. Maria won a stuffed bear. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Kimberly Rosentel was in the audience while her daughter Ellie performed with Tony’s Wine Cellar Jam Band on Sunday afternoon. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Longtime friends Donna Ramage Orth, left, and Joanna McCole Fusco take time for a photo on the last day of the Tomato Festival. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
The band Dani-elle had the honor of closing out the 2018 Tomato Festival Sunday night. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

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.

Ron Faraday, City of Pittston facilities manager, was seen vacuuming the grounds of the Tomato Festival early Sunday morning.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-1-1.jpgRon Faraday, City of Pittston facilities manager, was seen vacuuming the grounds of the Tomato Festival early Sunday morning. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Brandi Bartush got a kick out of her niece Mia Bartush as she snapped a few photos of her. Mia tied with Violet Pantucci as the 2018 Little Miss Tomato.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-2-1.jpgBrandi Bartush got a kick out of her niece Mia Bartush as she snapped a few photos of her. Mia tied with Violet Pantucci as the 2018 Little Miss Tomato. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Nancy and Armond Casagrande, of Wyoming, grabbed lunch while at the festival on Sunday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-3-1.jpgNancy and Armond Casagrande, of Wyoming, grabbed lunch while at the festival on Sunday. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Hazle and Jimmy Pepe, listening to a speaker at the bandshell, had a front row, center seats each and every day of the festival, rain or shine.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-4-1.jpgHazle and Jimmy Pepe, listening to a speaker at the bandshell, had a front row, center seats each and every day of the festival, rain or shine. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

When 4 year old Nicky Zbylicki, of Duryea, was asked what his favorite thing was at the Tomato Festival by MC Sarah Donahue, his answer was, “Everything.”
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-5-1.jpgWhen 4 year old Nicky Zbylicki, of Duryea, was asked what his favorite thing was at the Tomato Festival by MC Sarah Donahue, his answer was, “Everything.” Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Alissa Marianacci was serving up desserts at the Marianacci’s Restaurant stand made by her Aunt Patricia Marianacci.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-6-1.jpgAlissa Marianacci was serving up desserts at the Marianacci’s Restaurant stand made by her Aunt Patricia Marianacci. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Maria Panatieri, 3 1/2, of Pittston, looks at the number of the bottom of the duck at the Wyoming Area Kiwanis stand. Maria won a stuffed bear.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-7-1.jpgMaria Panatieri, 3 1/2, of Pittston, looks at the number of the bottom of the duck at the Wyoming Area Kiwanis stand. Maria won a stuffed bear. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Kimberly Rosentel was in the audience while her daughter Ellie performed with Tony’s Wine Cellar Jam Band on Sunday afternoon.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-8-1.jpgKimberly Rosentel was in the audience while her daughter Ellie performed with Tony’s Wine Cellar Jam Band on Sunday afternoon. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Longtime friends Donna Ramage Orth, left, and Joanna McCole Fusco take time for a photo on the last day of the Tomato Festival.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-9-1.jpgLongtime friends Donna Ramage Orth, left, and Joanna McCole Fusco take time for a photo on the last day of the Tomato Festival. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

The band Dani-elle had the honor of closing out the 2018 Tomato Festival Sunday night.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-10-1.jpgThe band Dani-elle had the honor of closing out the 2018 Tomato Festival Sunday night. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

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

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