Annual Riverfest event showcases Greater Pittston’s rich history

By Tony Callaio - For Sunday Dispatch
Coal historian and author Scott Herring, left, presents a sign commemorating the 250th anniversary of coal to the City of Pittston. The sign was donated by the 250th anniversary board and the Reading & Northern Railroad. Standing with Herring is vice president of the Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition, Keith Moss, center, and Bob Price, Coalition president. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
TJ Belt, balloon artist, is busy making balloon art for Amara Musto, 10; Ashlyn Loyack, 12; and Alyson Lenker, 11, dancer from Broadway on the Boulevard. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Nicole Davis, of Wyoming, center, along with her mother Barbara Davis, of Exeter, speak to a member of the Bear Clan Indian tribe. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Mining expert Robbie Flowers, right, talks about local mining in NEPA with Dave and Pat Johnson, of Moscow. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Richard Poirier, of Tobyhanna, grinds down an arrowhead at his Flintstone Artifacts booth at 2018 Riverfest. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

PITTSTON — Riverfest is a multicultural event showcasing Greater Pittston’s rich history annually at the city’s Riverfront Park. The 2018 event, in its 10th year, had a twist in planning; instead of all of the vendors assembling along the river, they gathered at the Cooper’s Waterfront parking lot.

“We have a larger event this year,” said Bob Price, president of the Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition, sponsors of the event.

“It’s always been about cultural and heritage, but we’ve expanded it for more activities for the kids, activities for the entire family and it’s a way to get more people downtown.”

According to Price, with the recent high levels of the Susquehanna River, a change in direction was necessary by having all vendors close together rather than spread out.

“We had it on the riverbank for years and the problem was, people didn’t want to walk all the way down the river and then all the way back and some vendors at the very end didn’t get to see as many people as the vendors first in line,” added Price.

Riverfest had two stage areas, the main stage and Cooper’s Cabana. The main stage featured appearances by the Greater Pittston Athletic Center, Five Mountain Bear Clan, Broadway on the Boulevard, reenactment scenes by Civil War Generals and Edgar Alan Poe, rounding out the day with musical selections by multiple music artists.

Cooper’s Cabana had displays of Bob Savokinas’ Rocky Glen Park Memories, talks on local professional baseball by Jack Smiles, the story behind the faces of the Pittston Mural by Ed Ackerman and Scott Herring spoke on the local coal industry.

Nicole Davis, of Wyoming, took in Riverfest with her mom Barbara, of Exeter. “I came to see all the artifacts of different times, especially the Indian artifacts,” Nicole said. “I love learning about the past.”

“My dad Al Pesotine is with the Frances Dorance Chapter and he’s been involved since the inception of the Riverfest,” Barbara said. “So we come to support him and kind of see our heritage, where we’ve been and where we are at this point.”

Returning this year were hay rides to the site of the Knox Mine Disaster, the “Ring of Fire” from Steamtown as well as food, balloon artistry, gift baskets and local cultural artists.

Dave and Pat Johnson drove from Moscow to see what Pittston Riverfest was all about. “We saw all the publicity on TV and there are things I didn’t expect,” Pat said, admitting there is no event like Riverfest in the Moscow area.

The Bear Mountain Indians supplied a tent filled with Indian artifacts and items as well as a full-sized teepee.

Pat, a former early-grade teacher at North Pocono, was interested in the Indian culture displayed. “We’ve been out west and I taught a big unit about Indians to my kindergarten class.”

Duryea Mayor Keith Moss, an employee of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre International Airport, brought along a large snow-clearing vehicle used by the airport for attendees to get a closer look at the massive machine.

“It was an amazing day, we had a lot of people walking around, the weather cooperated – we had a really great day,” Price concluded.

Coal historian and author Scott Herring, left, presents a sign commemorating the 250th anniversary of coal to the City of Pittston. The sign was donated by the 250th anniversary board and the Reading & Northern Railroad. Standing with Herring is vice president of the Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition, Keith Moss, center, and Bob Price, Coalition president.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Riverfest-2018-1.jpgCoal historian and author Scott Herring, left, presents a sign commemorating the 250th anniversary of coal to the City of Pittston. The sign was donated by the 250th anniversary board and the Reading & Northern Railroad. Standing with Herring is vice president of the Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition, Keith Moss, center, and Bob Price, Coalition president. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

TJ Belt, balloon artist, is busy making balloon art for Amara Musto, 10; Ashlyn Loyack, 12; and Alyson Lenker, 11, dancer from Broadway on the Boulevard.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Riverfest2.jpgTJ Belt, balloon artist, is busy making balloon art for Amara Musto, 10; Ashlyn Loyack, 12; and Alyson Lenker, 11, dancer from Broadway on the Boulevard. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Nicole Davis, of Wyoming, center, along with her mother Barbara Davis, of Exeter, speak to a member of the Bear Clan Indian tribe.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Riverfest3.jpgNicole Davis, of Wyoming, center, along with her mother Barbara Davis, of Exeter, speak to a member of the Bear Clan Indian tribe. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Mining expert Robbie Flowers, right, talks about local mining in NEPA with Dave and Pat Johnson, of Moscow.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Riverfest4.jpgMining expert Robbie Flowers, right, talks about local mining in NEPA with Dave and Pat Johnson, of Moscow. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Richard Poirier, of Tobyhanna, grinds down an arrowhead at his Flintstone Artifacts booth at 2018 Riverfest.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Riverfest5.jpgRichard Poirier, of Tobyhanna, grinds down an arrowhead at his Flintstone Artifacts booth at 2018 Riverfest. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Annual event showcases Greater Pittston’s rich history

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.