When it comes to the annual Pittston Tomato Festival, not even Joe Snedeker’s forecast of unsettled weather could keep people away from the infamous tomato fight.
The highly anticipated attraction has served as a highlight for the festival, which attracts over 50,000 people throughout the four-day event, for the past ten years.
“I have been to every single one,” said Roxanne Brennan of Moosic, adding that chucking tomatoes at people serves as a great stress release for a stay-at-home mother of four.
Held in the parking lot of Pittston’s Cooper’s Waterfront seafood restaurant, the Tomato Festival allows participants to toss rotten tomatoes at people from across the parking lot.
Cooper’s own DJ Ryan Cooper entertained the crowd with upbeat music before signaling the beginning of the fight with the sound of a buzzer. For the next ten minutes participants went wild as sounds of laughter struck the vicinity while rotten tomatoes were flying everywhere.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Kim Dreese of Plains Township.
“This was my first one. More intense than I expected,” said Mike Shirk, also of Plains Township.
While over 200 people got in on the action, even more spectators enjoyed watching the silliness.
“I wasn’t even in the fight and I got hit with tomatoes,” laughed Jim Alfieri of White Haven. “It was a lot of fun to watch though.”
The event raised over $1,500 by charging $8 to participate in the tomato fight ($20 for registration and a T-Shirt) for Greater Pittston charities, including the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
Volunteers came together to cut tomatoes, handle registration and sell T-Shirts.
“Once the mess is made Cooper’s staff members, owners and the local fire department volunteer their time to clean everything up,” said Cooper’s Waterfront general manager Nicole Telford.
The spirit of the event hits people of all ages from the fight itself to volunteering. Pittston Area high school seniors also donate their time to clean the mess, which serves as volunteer hours needed to graduate according to Telford.
Once the last tomato seed is cleared, the countdown for next year begins!