Plans call for Pittston Tomato Festival to return in 2021

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PITTSTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many events had to be canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year, this is some hope.

“So the status right now is we are in planning with the anticipation that we’ll have to do some sort of modifications but we’re confident that we’ll be able to pull off some iteration of the festival this year,” Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo said.

With the Pittston Tomato Festival canceled in 2020, there is hope for the 2021 event. Mayor Lombardo says plans are in the works for a modified event, but it doesn’t include one popular activity.

“One of the clearer areas is the tomato fight, so regardless of whether we have no restrictions or we’re at some percentage of restrictions, we’re not going to do the fight this year,” Mayor Lombardo said.

The 5k run is on with some modification. Runners and walkers taking off at different times to keep everyone socially distanced. While the parade shouldn’t have any major changes, the committee is looking to modify the hours of entertainment to reduce large crowds at night.

“This isn’t like the arena where we can control the number in and out. Once the flood gates open, it’s a free for all. We don’t charge admission and people show up. So, we’ll just be careful,” Mayor Lombardo said.

Bianca Rabender, a Pittston resident for 27 years, says it will be nice to see the event back to life this summer.

“With businesses, I mean, I even work here on Main Street as well, and I see it. Everybody’s affected. Everybody’s hurting. So, hopefully this year’s changed. A change for the good,” Rabender said.

Jason Sabatelle of Sabetelle’s Market understands last year’s decision, but is ready come August.

“They stared at the side of caution, which is always a good thing to do, but this year, it’s on! It’s on, even Deano wants in on the game, he wants to go too,” Sabatelle said. “If we could add another day out there, maybe go all week, that would be great because this is such a good festival.”

The Tomato Festival will have additional hand washing and sanitizing stations and is scheduled for August 19th through the 22nd.

Mayor Lombardo says a new beer and wine festival is also slated for this year.

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