Pierogi festival serves as COVID-19 vaccination site

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EDWARDSVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An annual celebration of a Polish food staple is underway in Luzerne County. But it’s more than pierogis on the menu.

The festival is doubling as a way to battle the pandemic. A hungry crowd came out to John Hopkins Park for the first day of the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival. The celebration of the ethnic treat makes its return after a year off due to the pandemic.

“Come have some fun, come enjoy the festival, the food, the vendors, get vaccinated,” Edwardsville Hometown Committee secretary Stacey Casey said.

You heard her right. This year, among the dozens of vendors and food stands, is the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s mobile vaccine clinic. Guests can get a free Johnson & Johnson vaccination with their pierogis.

“It’s a nice thing to have here in case someone wants to get tested or vaccinated and they’re not sure where to go, they have easy access right here,” Chelsey Coslett of Kingston said.

Attendees like Coslett are thrilled to be out and about at the festival.

“We can all be together again and not have to wear our masks and get back to that normalcy that I think we’ve all missed the past year,” Coslett said.

“Slow the spread, stop the spread, that’s the whole idea,” Casey said.

Casey says good food brings the community together, and it’s important to offer resources to those who need it.

“Today we had 12 people vaccinated, and it would be fantastic if we could double that, at least double that,” Casey said.

The Department of Health will try to bolster those numbers by offering shots during the entire 12 hours of the final day of the festival.

The Edwardsville Pierogi Festival continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Again you can get the J&J vaccine or get tested for COVID during that time.

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