Pittston Parade set, but Irish Festival on hold

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First Posted: 1/20/2014

The Greater Pittston St. Patrick’s Parade is on, but the planned Irish Festival will have to wait.

Sarah Donahue, Pittston’s special events coordinator, said organizers decided to focus all their attention, energy, and finances on “one, great parade.”

Councilman Michael Lombardo said there weren’t enough resources for the parade and festival, so organizers will now focus all their attention on the parade.

The parade is set for noon on March 8 and will take the same route the Tomato Festival Parade takes. It will start at the fork on South Main Street, march all the way up Main Street, come back down Kennedy Boulevard, and end near Quinn’s Market.

“It will mimic the Tomato Parade in terms of lineup and route,” Donahue said.

As reported by The Weekender last year, a fundraiser for the parade, Shamrocktober Fest, was held on Nov. 2 at the Susquehanna Brewing Company. More than $5,000 was raised, Donahue said, and it will be used to help defray the cost of the pipe and drum corps.

Four bagpipe units will march, including Wyoming Valley Pipe and Drum Band, Ceol Mor, Scranton Black Diamonds, and Celtic United, Donahue confirmed.

City restaurants will open early to accommodate the crowds, offer specials, and provide entertainment.

Donahue even tossed out a playful motto: “We’re going to Shamrock Pittston.”

Scranton’s parade will be on Saturday, March 15, and Wilkes-Barre’s parade will be on Sunday, March 16, so Pittston’s date a week earlier won’t interfere.

Pittston has no problem hosting a large parade. The yearly Tomato Festival Parade draws tens of thousands of people to the downtown each year at the end of August.

This will be the first St. Patrick’s Parade in downtown Pittston in nearly a half century. Former President Harry S. Truman marched in the city’s parade in 1956.

Many other community groups, scouts, non-profits, businesses, and school groups will march as well, but more are needed. Interested groups should call Donahue at 570.654.0513, ext. 200, or e-mail her at sdonahue@cityofpittston.org. Groups can march, ride on a vehicle, or even design a float.