Pittston Tomato Festival fate to be determined

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PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Due to COVID-19, many events this summer have been postponed or even canceled. But for one very popular event, it still may go on.

“It’s not going to be the big tomato. It’s probably going to be the cherry tomato,” Michael Lombardo, Pittston Mayor/Festival Chairperson said.

That’s what Lombardo told Eyewitness News Wednesday as many have asked whether the event will go on.

“The current status is pending under review, so what we’ve done is taken the necessary steps to move the festival forward,” Lombardo said.

The ultimate decision, Lombardo says, will depend on several circumstances. The event, which typically draws more than 75,000 people to Pittston’s downtown would have to follow social distancing guidelines and keep vendors apart this year if plans continue.

In addition, the festival committee would have to decide if the state’s orders will allow them to proceed later this summer. As for when a final call will be made, Lombardo is planning to announce the official decision during the last week of July.

“I’m talking to most of our vendors. The critical point would be three weeks out to be able to pull the plug and not have an issue with them purchasing products to prepare for the festivals,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo tells Eyewitness News if they do continue the plans for the festival in August, they will set up extra hand washing stations around the area. Eyewitness News asked locals about whether they think the event should be canceled or go on as planned.

“I honestly believe they should cancel all activities until they come out with inoculations for everybody to prevent the virus from affecting us, yes,” Linda McGrath-Hobbs of Pittston said.

“I’m hoping we might get right over this. I think we are doing good. We are all doing the right things. We did what we were supposed to do and now it’s time to start moving along and getting back to business, you know,” Jason Sabatelle of Sabatelle’s Market said.

Lombardo says he will announce more information as it becomes available. Lombardo says an alternative beer and wine festival could be planned for September or October if the Tomato Festival has to be canceled.

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