Pittston Tomato Festival concludes 33rd year with contest winners and new queen, mascot


Pittston Tomato Festival concludes 33rd year

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com



The 2016 Little Mr. and Little Miss Tomato were crowned Sunday morning. Parker Jones, 4, Pittston, and Victoria Ferrentino, 4, Laflin, will hold the titles until the 2017 Tomato Festival.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Bart Weidlich and his two children, Rhinada, 2, and Nicholas, 5, try their hand at winning a goldfish.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Andrew Bernoski and Barbara Wilder, both of Pittston, purchase Tomato Festival t-shirts off of Tomato Festival volunteer Rosie Fasciana, West Pittston.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Laura Kosco of Golomb Farms helps out Ellen Quinn, West Pittston and Greg Shiner, Edge Water, MD, with their purchase of fresh farm produce.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

This little tomato, one-year old Charlotte Marley, hams it up for the camera at the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

There was plenty of activity at the Pittston Tomato Festival Sunday morning before rain entered the area.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

The Little Mr. and Little Miss Tomato contest MC, Sarah Donahue, interviews newly crowned 2016 Tomato Festival Queen Destiney Seville prior to the announcement of the Little Mr. and Miss winners.


Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

The 2016 Tomato Festival Queen participants from left, Breanna Cannell, 17, Exeter; Destiney Seville, 16, Plymouth; Genevieve Federici, 15, West Pittston; Gianna Paoloni, 15, Wyoming.


Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Destiney Seville performs her talent portion of the Tomato Festival Queen contest by tap dancing to “Some Like it Hot.”


Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Logan Decker, 6, of Old Forge, has his game face on as he participates in the 6 to 7-year-old bracket during the arm wrestling competition held at Cooper’s Waterfront.


Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Daniel Byler, left, of Turbotville, arm wrestles James Ronght of Wyalusing during the arm wrestling competition held at Cooper’s Waterfront.


Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Jim Youelles, Plymouth, took home the prize for the largest tomato during the Tomato Contest.


Submitted photo

Hannah Higdon, 12, of Exeter, left, Angelina Smith, 9, of Plains Township, and Sierra Smith, 12, of Wyoming sport balloon hats crafted by TJ Belt of Jubilee Balloons during the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival on Aug. 19.


Pete G. Wilcox | Sunday Dispatch

Thousands flock to the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival on Aug. 19.


Pete G. Wilcox | Sunday Dispatch

The Cino Paci band makes its way down Main Street during the Pittston Tomato Festival Parade Aug. 20.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

West Side Starz’s Christianna Masher, 15, does a gymnastics move down the street at the annual Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Miss Luzerne County and Miss Northeastern PA lead the beauty queens during the annual Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Every year friends of Jake Vaxmonsky throw boxes of tomatoes at him after the annual tomato fights during the Pittston Tomato Festival.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Maggie the Boston Terrier takes a break in a puddle with some tomatoes after the tomato fights on Aug. 20 in Pittston.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Ryan Miller, 10 months, waits happily for the Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Fighters block using boxes during the annual tomato fights during the Pittston Tomato Festival Aug. 20.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Maxwell Edwards heads under the ropes to throw tomatoes during the annual tomato fights at the Pittston Tomato Festival Aug. 20.


Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Video:

Source: Nick Wagner, Aimee Dilger, Pete G. Wilcox

The annual Pittston Tomato Festival concluded on Sunday. Throughout the four days, the festival brought thousands to Downtown Pittston. Visit www.psdispatch.com for all the action.

VIDEO

For video highlights, visit www.psdispatch.com

PITTSTON — This year’s Tomato Festival almost began the way last year’s did — with a lot of rain.

Fortunately, the rain cleared in time for opening ceremonies and the rest of the weekend was dry, with the exception of heavy downpours on Sunday.

Nonetheless, the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival was a huge success thanks to the thousands of people in attendance from all over the area and the many vendors dishing out delicious food.

Here’s a brief recap of the event:

Something new

Despite this being the festival’s 33rd year, the committee wasn’t shy about dishing out new things.

The Tomato Festival building made its debut this year and served as a stand to sell merchandise while also storing equipment for the band shell and the parade banners.

Also making its debut was the new Tomato Festival mascot, which will be named through a contest on Facebook.

Run, Forrest, run!

Last year Chris McCabe wasn’t happy with his second-place finish in the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run. So this year, at the 18th annual event, he used a different strategy.

McCabe, 26, of Lancaster, broke the tape in 16 minutes and 21 seconds, preventing second-place finisher, Matt Flynn, 30, of Media, from winning his fourth straight Tomato Festival 5K.

Caitlin Gaughan, who won top female honors, didn’t know if she was in good shape or not, because she said she never looks back.

This was her third win in the Tomato Festival 5K, as the 30-year-old from Scranton finished seventh overall in 19:03, outdistancing the second-place female, Kelly Curry, 34, of Pittston, by 1:09.

A parade for all to see

The sky was sunny and the temperature was hot, but thousands gathered along Main Street to witness one of the best parades in the Wyoming Valley.

Close to 80 groups participated in the parade, which was broadcast live on Fox 56 with festival chairperson Lori Nocito alongside TV personality Jane Adonizio.

The grand marshal of the parade was fellow Tomato Festival Committee member and grounds supervisor for the festival, Jim Zarra.

New queen crowned

Four area girls vied for the chance to be named the 2016 Tomato Festival Queen, but the crown could only go on one head.

That head belonged to Destiney Seville of Plymouth who was judged on an interview and her talent performance, in which she tap danced to the song “Some Like It Hot.”

Other participants included Breanna Cannell, 17, of Exeter, who was the first runner-up; Genevieve Federici, 15, of West Pittston; and Gianna Paoloni, 15, of Wyoming.

Seville received a $500 cash scholarship from the Pittston Tomato Festival Committee while Cannell received a $250 scholarship.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Approximately 150 people gathered in the parking lot of Cooper’s Waterfront in Pittston for the annual throwing of squashed tomatoes.

White shirts were turned red by the event’s conclusion, and some participants buried themselves in tomatoes to soak up all of the juices.

Proceeds for the event benefited Greater Pittston charities.

Arm wrestling

Some of the strongest men and children from the Valley came together for the 22nd annual arm wrestling competition held in the parking lot of Cooper’s Waterfront.

For adults, Cale Michael, of Turbotville, took first place in the 0 to 165 pound right hand and left hand divisions. Melvin Bonet, of Newton, N.J., took first place in the 166 to 187 novice right and novice left hand divisions. Garnet Pratt, Towanda, won first in the 188 to 220 pound novice right hand division and Jim Fussner, Pittston, won first in the 199 to 242 novice left hand division. Jordan Bair took first place in the 220 pound novice right hand division and 242 pound novice left hand division.

In the 0 to 165 pound open right hand division, Mike Surplus, Pittston, took first place and Mike McPherson, Scranton, took first in the open left hand division. Art Spindler, Pittston, won first place in the 188 to 200 pound open left hand division and Paul Linn took first place in 188 to 220 pound open right hand division and in the 220 pound open right hand division.

For the children’s divisions, Ava Simko, Harding, won first place in the 6 to 7-year-old division while Calen Eckert took first place in the 7 to 9 year-old division. Randy Riechert won first in the 10 to 13 year old division.

A ‘saucy’ contest

Cris Nic’s Irish Pub, of Wilkes-Barre, was named this year’s Sauce Wars champion.

Also in the contest was last year’s winner Grico’s Restaurant of Exeter, Lizza’s Mezzo Mezzo of Pittston, Arturo’s of Dupont, and Sindaco’s of Luzerne.

The contest was a blind taste test and all proceeds go to the Greater Pittston Historical Society.

The good, the bad, the ugliest

There is no Tomato Festival without tomatoes, and residents brought in some of their best home grown ones for judging.

Jim Youelles, Plymouth, took home the prize for the Largest Tomato; Rosie Fasciana, West Pittston, won in the Most Perfect Tomato category; David Todd, West Pittston, went home with the prize for the Ugliest Tomato; and Jim Ganard, Avoca, won in the Smallest Tomato category.

Little Miss, Mister Tomato

The Wyoming Valley’s youngest residents all vied for a chance to be named Little Miss or Little Mister Tomato for 2016.

Little Miss Tomato for 2016 was Victoria Ferentino, 4, of Laflin, and Little Mister Tomato was Parker Jones, 4, of Pittston.

Runner ups for Little Miss Tomato were Mia LeAnn Bartush, 2, of Pittston, and Evie Vasilidas, 2, of Nazareth. Runner ups for Little Mister Tomato were Dylan Malaker, 4, of Avoca, and Max Taylor, 4, of Avoca.

There were 21 girl contestants and nine boy contestants who all answered three questions and blew a kiss to the audience before each receiving a ribbon from the 2015 pageant winners.

Dispatch raises money

The Sunday Dispatch booth saw the return of the spinning wheel, in which participants paid $1 to spin the wheel for a chance to win a prize. Prizes included a pair of sunglasses, a mood cup, a Frisbee, a water bottle, a grocery bag, a key chain, or the Dispatch yellow Chevrolet Camaro toy car.

The booth raised $649 and all proceeds went to the Care and Concern Clinic.

The booth was manned by volunteers from the clinic and Sunday Dispatch staff members.

The 2016 Little Mr. and Little Miss Tomato were crowned Sunday morning. Parker Jones, 4, Pittston, and Victoria Ferrentino, 4, Laflin, will hold the titles until the 2017 Tomato Festival.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap1.jpgThe 2016 Little Mr. and Little Miss Tomato were crowned Sunday morning. Parker Jones, 4, Pittston, and Victoria Ferrentino, 4, Laflin, will hold the titles until the 2017 Tomato Festival. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Bart Weidlich and his two children, Rhinada, 2, and Nicholas, 5, try their hand at winning a goldfish.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap2.jpgBart Weidlich and his two children, Rhinada, 2, and Nicholas, 5, try their hand at winning a goldfish. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Andrew Bernoski and Barbara Wilder, both of Pittston, purchase Tomato Festival t-shirts off of Tomato Festival volunteer Rosie Fasciana, West Pittston.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap3.jpgAndrew Bernoski and Barbara Wilder, both of Pittston, purchase Tomato Festival t-shirts off of Tomato Festival volunteer Rosie Fasciana, West Pittston. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Laura Kosco of Golomb Farms helps out Ellen Quinn, West Pittston and Greg Shiner, Edge Water, MD, with their purchase of fresh farm produce.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap4.jpgLaura Kosco of Golomb Farms helps out Ellen Quinn, West Pittston and Greg Shiner, Edge Water, MD, with their purchase of fresh farm produce. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

This little tomato, one-year old Charlotte Marley, hams it up for the camera at the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap5.jpgThis little tomato, one-year old Charlotte Marley, hams it up for the camera at the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

There was plenty of activity at the Pittston Tomato Festival Sunday morning before rain entered the area.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap6.jpgThere was plenty of activity at the Pittston Tomato Festival Sunday morning before rain entered the area. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

The Little Mr. and Little Miss Tomato contest MC, Sarah Donahue, interviews newly crowned 2016 Tomato Festival Queen Destiney Seville prior to the announcement of the Little Mr. and Miss winners.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap7.jpgThe Little Mr. and Little Miss Tomato contest MC, Sarah Donahue, interviews newly crowned 2016 Tomato Festival Queen Destiney Seville prior to the announcement of the Little Mr. and Miss winners. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

The 2016 Tomato Festival Queen participants from left, Breanna Cannell, 17, Exeter; Destiney Seville, 16, Plymouth; Genevieve Federici, 15, West Pittston; Gianna Paoloni, 15, Wyoming.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap8.jpgThe 2016 Tomato Festival Queen participants from left, Breanna Cannell, 17, Exeter; Destiney Seville, 16, Plymouth; Genevieve Federici, 15, West Pittston; Gianna Paoloni, 15, Wyoming. Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Destiney Seville performs her talent portion of the Tomato Festival Queen contest by tap dancing to “Some Like it Hot.”
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap9.jpgDestiney Seville performs her talent portion of the Tomato Festival Queen contest by tap dancing to “Some Like it Hot.” Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Logan Decker, 6, of Old Forge, has his game face on as he participates in the 6 to 7-year-old bracket during the arm wrestling competition held at Cooper’s Waterfront.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap10.jpgLogan Decker, 6, of Old Forge, has his game face on as he participates in the 6 to 7-year-old bracket during the arm wrestling competition held at Cooper’s Waterfront. Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Daniel Byler, left, of Turbotville, arm wrestles James Ronght of Wyalusing during the arm wrestling competition held at Cooper’s Waterfront.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap11.jpgDaniel Byler, left, of Turbotville, arm wrestles James Ronght of Wyalusing during the arm wrestling competition held at Cooper’s Waterfront. Jimmy Fisher | Sunday Dispatch

Jim Youelles, Plymouth, took home the prize for the largest tomato during the Tomato Contest.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_PSD082816TomatoWrap12.jpgJim Youelles, Plymouth, took home the prize for the largest tomato during the Tomato Contest. Submitted photo

Hannah Higdon, 12, of Exeter, left, Angelina Smith, 9, of Plains Township, and Sierra Smith, 12, of Wyoming sport balloon hats crafted by TJ Belt of Jubilee Balloons during the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival on Aug. 19.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_tomatofestival03.jpgHannah Higdon, 12, of Exeter, left, Angelina Smith, 9, of Plains Township, and Sierra Smith, 12, of Wyoming sport balloon hats crafted by TJ Belt of Jubilee Balloons during the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival on Aug. 19. Pete G. Wilcox | Sunday Dispatch

Thousands flock to the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival on Aug. 19.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_tomatofestival05.jpgThousands flock to the 33rd Annual Pittston Tomato Festival on Aug. 19. Pete G. Wilcox | Sunday Dispatch

The Cino Paci band makes its way down Main Street during the Pittston Tomato Festival Parade Aug. 20.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Parade9cmyk.jpgThe Cino Paci band makes its way down Main Street during the Pittston Tomato Festival Parade Aug. 20. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

West Side Starz’s Christianna Masher, 15, does a gymnastics move down the street at the annual Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Parade8cmyk.jpgWest Side Starz’s Christianna Masher, 15, does a gymnastics move down the street at the annual Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Miss Luzerne County and Miss Northeastern PA lead the beauty queens during the annual Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Parade10cmyk-1-.jpgMiss Luzerne County and Miss Northeastern PA lead the beauty queens during the annual Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Every year friends of Jake Vaxmonsky throw boxes of tomatoes at him after the annual tomato fights during the Pittston Tomato Festival.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Fight7cmyk.jpgEvery year friends of Jake Vaxmonsky throw boxes of tomatoes at him after the annual tomato fights during the Pittston Tomato Festival. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Maggie the Boston Terrier takes a break in a puddle with some tomatoes after the tomato fights on Aug. 20 in Pittston.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Fight8cmyk.jpgMaggie the Boston Terrier takes a break in a puddle with some tomatoes after the tomato fights on Aug. 20 in Pittston. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Ryan Miller, 10 months, waits happily for the Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Parade6cmyk.jpgRyan Miller, 10 months, waits happily for the Pittston Tomato Festival Parade on Aug. 20. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Fighters block using boxes during the annual tomato fights during the Pittston Tomato Festival Aug. 20.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Fight6cmyk.jpgFighters block using boxes during the annual tomato fights during the Pittston Tomato Festival Aug. 20. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Maxwell Edwards heads under the ropes to throw tomatoes during the annual tomato fights at the Pittston Tomato Festival Aug. 20.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL081916Fight4cmyk.jpgMaxwell Edwards heads under the ropes to throw tomatoes during the annual tomato fights at the Pittston Tomato Festival Aug. 20. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Pittston Tomato Festival concludes 33rd year

By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

VIDEO

For video highlights, visit www.psdispatch.com

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher


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Video Caption: The annual Pittston Tomato Festival concluded on Sunday. Throughout the four days, the festival brought thousands to Downtown Pittston. Visit www.psdispatch.com for all the action.
Video Credit: Nick Wagner, Aimee Dilger, Pete G. Wilcox
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Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher

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