Annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates life of mayor, continues Sunday


Late mayor honored at Cherry Blossom fest

By Nick Wagner - [email protected]



Rosalie Messina, the 2016 West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Marshal, tosses out candy to children along the parade route on Wyoming Avenue, West Pittston.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

West Pittston Coucilman Pete Musinski reflects on the life and times of the late West Pittston Mayor Tony Denisco, who was laid to rest two hours before opening ceremonies of the 45th annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival. From left are Lauren Timek, Little Miss Cherry Blossom judge; state Rep. Aaron Kaufer; Anthony Capozucca, Denisco’s grandson; Brady Mullin, Denisco’s nephew; Cara Capozucco, Denisco’s granddaughter; Nico Vasquez (hidden); Katherine Potter, 2015 Little Miss Cherry Blossom Festival.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Three-year-old Charlotte Oeller caught a shark with the help of grandmother Donna Cool, Wilkes-Barre, and Rhiannon Coss, 12, during the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Rosalie Messina, the 2016 West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Marshal, addresses the crowd during opening ceremonies of the festival on Saturday in West Pittston.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch


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    IF YOU GO

    The West Pittson Cherry Blossom Festival, held on the corner of Water Street and Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston, will continue from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Sunday’s event schedule is as follows:

    Noon — Invocation; performance of scenes from “Grease” by the Wyoming Area Drama Club

    12:30 p.m. — West Pittston Cherry Blossom’s Got Talent

    1:30 p.m. — Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre

    2:15 p.m. — Perfect Harmony School of Music/Beth Connor

    3 p.m. — Dynamic Duo with special guest “Bianca”

    4 p.m. — The Irrefutables

    5 p.m. — Festival closing

    WEST PITTSTON — Just a few days before the festival, the annual event lost one of its biggest supporters. However, the show went on along the Susquehanna River with a touch of class dedicated to the former resident.

    West Pittston Mayor Tony Denisco passed away on Tuesday, April 26. During the introduction and opening ceremonies of the 45th annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival, Denisco was honored for his dedication to West Pittston.

    At noon, the annual parade stepped off from Cenera Auto Parts to Wyoming Avenue, down to Philadelphia Avenue and evenutally onto Susquehanna Avenue and finishing at the festival grounds. This year’s grand marshal was Rosalie Messina, a dedicated Cubmaster from Pack 302 in West Pittston. Messina has been involved in Scouts for 38 years.

    Her biggest enjoyment of the day was passing out candy during the parade. She sat in the back of a pickup truck for the entirety of the parade route.

    “This was great because I love kids,” Messina said. “That was my thing — passing out candy — just to see the expression on their faces and their smiles.”

    Messina was called up to the stage during the festival’s introduction and was presented with a plaque. She will be at the festival for most of the weekend, at the Boy Scouts food stand. Messina has also helped the Cherry Blossom Committee any way she could over the years.

    “It means a lot,” she said. “Having this honor means a lot. I’ve dedicated my whole life and heart and soul into this.”

    Master of ceremonies was committee member Gina Malsky, who also runs the Little Miss Cherry Blossom Contest, which was held on Saturday afternoon. She started the festival off by speaking highly of the mayor. She ended her speech to a standing ovation from the hundreds of people in the crowd.

    “What an appropriate way and to say thanks to a man that wore many hats,” Malsky said. “Whether you call him mayor, mister, brother, dad, papa, sir, uncle or friend, Tony Denisco was one great guy.”

    West Pittston Council member Pete Musinski spoke on behalf of the mayor, who always played a major role in the festival. Musinski said he’s known Denisco for 36 years. Musinski said it was just three months after Denisco was named mayor that he had to deal with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee in West Pittston.

    Denisco handled it perfectly, according to the councilman.

    “He faced devastation in this town,” Musinski said. “It’s an amazing thing how this town recovered so quickly.”

    Musinski also thanked the committee for staying strong for the past 45 years.

    “It’s a wonderful day for a celebration today,” he said. “Forty-five years is a long time. Without them it would not happen.”

    State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston, was on hand at the festival to award a citation from the state to the West Pittston Cherry Cherry Blossom Committee. Kaufer also remembered the former mayor, who he was proud to call a friend.

    “Mayor, constable, every hat in the world — he was a very special man,” Kaufer said. “I was proud to call him my friend. I’m so happy to see his family here today.”

    The West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival continues at noon on Sunday, May 1 with a performance by the Wyoming Area Drama Club. The festival closes at 5 p.m.

    Rosalie Messina, the 2016 West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Marshal, tosses out candy to children along the parade route on Wyoming Avenue, West Pittston.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_2016-Cherry-Blossom-Fest-1-2.jpgRosalie Messina, the 2016 West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Marshal, tosses out candy to children along the parade route on Wyoming Avenue, West Pittston. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

    West Pittston Coucilman Pete Musinski reflects on the life and times of the late West Pittston Mayor Tony Denisco, who was laid to rest two hours before opening ceremonies of the 45th annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival. From left are Lauren Timek, Little Miss Cherry Blossom judge; state Rep. Aaron Kaufer; Anthony Capozucca, Denisco’s grandson; Brady Mullin, Denisco’s nephew; Cara Capozucco, Denisco’s granddaughter; Nico Vasquez (hidden); Katherine Potter, 2015 Little Miss Cherry Blossom Festival.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_2016-Cherry-Blossom-Fest-2-2.jpgWest Pittston Coucilman Pete Musinski reflects on the life and times of the late West Pittston Mayor Tony Denisco, who was laid to rest two hours before opening ceremonies of the 45th annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival. From left are Lauren Timek, Little Miss Cherry Blossom judge; state Rep. Aaron Kaufer; Anthony Capozucca, Denisco’s grandson; Brady Mullin, Denisco’s nephew; Cara Capozucco, Denisco’s granddaughter; Nico Vasquez (hidden); Katherine Potter, 2015 Little Miss Cherry Blossom Festival. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

    Three-year-old Charlotte Oeller caught a shark with the help of grandmother Donna Cool, Wilkes-Barre, and Rhiannon Coss, 12, during the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_2016-Cherry-Blossom-Fest-3-2.jpgThree-year-old Charlotte Oeller caught a shark with the help of grandmother Donna Cool, Wilkes-Barre, and Rhiannon Coss, 12, during the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

    Rosalie Messina, the 2016 West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Marshal, addresses the crowd during opening ceremonies of the festival on Saturday in West Pittston.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_2016-Cherry-Blossom-Fest-4-2.jpgRosalie Messina, the 2016 West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Marshal, addresses the crowd during opening ceremonies of the festival on Saturday in West Pittston. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
    Late mayor honored at Cherry Blossom fest

    By Nick Wagner

    [email protected]

    IF YOU GO

    The West Pittson Cherry Blossom Festival, held on the corner of Water Street and Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston, will continue from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Sunday’s event schedule is as follows:

    Noon — Invocation; performance of scenes from “Grease” by the Wyoming Area Drama Club

    12:30 p.m. — West Pittston Cherry Blossom’s Got Talent

    1:30 p.m. — Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre

    2:15 p.m. — Perfect Harmony School of Music/Beth Connor

    3 p.m. — Dynamic Duo with special guest “Bianca”

    4 p.m. — The Irrefutables

    5 p.m. — Festival closing

    Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

    Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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