PITTSTON — Now that it’s February, it’s not too soon to start thinking about St. Patrick’s Day. And this year there’s one more parade that will be held in our area.
Pittston is holding a St. Patrick’s Parade for the first time in 50 years.
In a city full of tomato murals, it’s hard to believe that a month from now Pittston will be covered in Irish shamrocks.
“The south end of town does have a heavily Italian-influenced culture but there are many ethnic groups that are represented in the city, and the Irish are one of them,” said Pittston city council member Michael Lombardo.
For the first time in 50 years, Pittston is hosting a St. Patrick’s Parade. Last year the city hung Irish flags for St. Patrick’s Day and that’s when the idea for a parade sprung.
“I think we have some credibility now based on the success of some of the other events that we’ve had, so people are excited about it,” said Lombardo.
So far, 50 to 60 pipe bands, step dancers, and community groups have signed up to participate.
The parade is set for March 8, a week before the St. Patrick’s Parades in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.
Sherry McHale hopes Pittston’s parade is just as successful as those events.
“For the community, a big turnout. It came a long way from what it used to be, a lot of vacant buildings. They have improved the town, and I’m excited for it,” McHale said.
Jessica Zelonis and her husband own Harry Jackett’s Lunch on Main Street in Pittston and hope the parade brings business.
“We want to maybe extend our hours. If the parade’s in the afternoon, we’ll extend our hours and be here and try to get in some new customers.”
And although the city is known for its tomato festival and Italian heritage, most don’t think that will be a problem on Pittston parade day.
“It doesn’t matter what color you are, what race you are, you’re Irish. You’re drinking a green beer,” said Zelonis.