PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local town known as “the tomato capital of the world” is gearing up for its annual end-of-summer festival.

Final preparations are underway Wednesday for the celebration of bright red, home-grown tomatoes.

More than 60 vendors were in full set-up mode Wednesday on the eve of the 39th annual Pittston Tomato Festival.

“We’re very excited to have our festival back again this year. We had it last year after a year off of covid and everybody’s very excited, the town is excited and there’s a lot of enthusiasm and people ready to go,” said Sarah Donahue, Pittston Tomato Festival Committee.

While delicious food typically takes center stage during this four-day event, there are some new additions for families and people of all ages to enjoy.

“We decided to make it even bigger and add a number of rides from this great company out of I believe Mayfield, and they brought, as you can see, slides and dragons and all sorts of great things,” Donahue added.

But one tradition will be missed this year, and that’s the iconic tomato fight. Mayor Mike Lombardo says it’s due to a current tomato shortage and the development of its former location.

“Good news for the city, bad news for the fight. So, I think one of the things we’ll do is after the festival this year we’ll begin to re-evaluate the other pieces,” said Pittston Mayor, Michael Lombardo.

Around 80,000 people are expected to attend the festival. Mayor Lombardo says it’s an opportunity to showcase some of the progress in the city.

“They come for the festival but they get to see other things. And hopefully, when they’re here they will see those things. Oh, there’s a new business here I didn’t realize that was here, I didn’t realize this new restaurant opened. It’s a great open invitation that hopefully gets repeat business,” Lombardo added.

The Pittston Tomato Festival kicks off Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

The parade steps off Saturday at 10 a.m. starting at Turkey Hill on Main Street The “Little Miss and Mister Tomato” Contest gets underway Sunday at 11 a.m. at the bandstand.