Going with the flow


First Posted: 9/13/2013

Celebrating the Susquehanna.

That’s what the Greater Pittston Cultural Coalition plans to do at the 4th annual Pittston Riverfest, set for Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverfront Park in Pittston.

The coalition, a group interested in Pittston, its history, culture and promotion, has lots planned, said Joe Savokinas, organizer of the 4th annual Pittston Riverfest, and John Dziak, a coalition member.

Lots of activities are planned, including a hayride to the site of the Knox Mine Disaster.

In January of 1959, billions of gallons of water from the Susquehanna River broke through mining chambers dug too close to the riverbed, killing 12 miners in the Port Griffith section of Jenkins Township. By the time the hole was plugged, many of the area’s interconnected mines were flooded. The deep mining of anthracite in the northern coal fields ended quickly.

The Greater Pittston Historical Society will be providing informative signage for the tour at the actual break-in and Eagle Air shaft locations as well as other sites along the river.

There will be hands-on educational demonstrations in such things as gem and mineral stone cutting and polishing, arrowhead making, flintlock rifles and local Indian artifacts.

Also, historical picture displays, children’s mural painting, silver artifacts and quilting.

At Cooper’s Cabana residents are invited to share their favorite places in Greater Pittston on a memory map.

Also at the Cabana the society will discuss “Lackawanna River Happenings,” a discussion of the status and importance of current efforts at remediating the polluted state of the Lackawanna River near its confluence with the Susquehanna. Bernie McGurl of the Lackawanna Valley Conservancy will host.

A 35-minute film on the disaster will be shown at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m..

Displays of the historical society’s recent activities at the Pittston Cemetery and discussions on plans for the information found in cemetery records such as walking tours will be outlined. Burial records for 2800 people will be there.

While the Wyoming Valley Riverfest in Wilkes-Barre is more activity based, the Pittston Riverfest is more history based.

The fest also will feature Indian dancing, drums, storytelling, facepainting and Native American food. Additional food, such as hot dogs, wimpies and haluski, will be available. Various types of skills from Colonial times such as rug making, wool spinning, soap making, and much more will be demonstrated.

Pittston Riverfest is a free event and it’s open to the pubic.

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