Preparations for Pittston St. Patrick’s Day Parade

PITTSTON, Pa. -- Pittston is preparing for its St. Patrick's Day tradition.

Paul Cooper got to work decorating and preparing Cooper's on the waterfront with less than 24 hours until the 6th annual Pittston St. Patrick's Day parade.

For Coopers, it's a big day.

"It's the best day of year - the busiest day of the year. It used to be New Year's Eve, now it's the St. Patrick's Day Parade," said Cooper. "Couple hundred hamburgers, couple hundred hotdogs, maybe 50 crabcake sandwiches - it gets better every year. I keep buying more and more food as more and more people become aware of the Pittston parade."

"Yeah," William "Clarker" Clarke of Pittston said. "I'm excited about the St. Paddy's Day Parade because I'm Irish and I'll be dressed up as Chewbacca. I'll have all kinds of bling on."

This year will be Pittston's sixth annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"It's a really exciting time in Pittston," parade organizer Sarah Donahue said. "We have a lot of Irish heritage here, a lot of Irish ancestors, we're really excited to highlight, the wonderful things about being Irish."

The festivities start in the morning with mass at 9 a.m. After that, The Leprechaun Loop, a one-mile run/walk at 11 a.m. Then the parade will start at noon.

"The pipe and drum music, the Irish step dancers -- we have lots of those in our parade and it should be a really nice day here in Pittston," Donahue said.

This year's parade will have more than one hundred groups walking in it.

Local businesses are getting ready for the occasion, too. Christa Lynn's Bakery opened over the summer and this will be their first S. Patrick's Day Parade.

"We're expecting a big crowd," Christa Lynn's Bakery co-owner Michael Hill said. "Lots of coffee. I know it's supposed to be cold, little snow, so, a lot of coffee."

Paradegoers we spoke with said the weather won't stop them from enjoying the day.

"It's the beginning of March," Donahue said. "It's always the kick-off to spring as I see it and I like being the first parade of them all because I think people are always really excited to get out and wear their green and celebrate the Irish season."

Other restaurants and businesses are ready for a busy Saturday. The Tomato Bar and Bistro has even set up a heated tent for parade goers.

"We're heavily staffed. We have 10 bartenders working tomorrow, we have three bar backs, we'll even have a shot girl that will be bopping around so that way we can better serve people. Because that's the worst thing, like when you're trying to have a good time, worst thing in the world is not having good service," said Michael Rufus.

The St. Patrick's parade is a newer tradition in Pittston but some in the city say it already rivals the city's long-established Tomato Festival.

"Oh, it's unbelievable. It's like the Tomato Festival, people come from all over," said Cathy Alteri.

Alteri owns Vince's Pizza on Main Street and says parade day almost triples the number of pizzas this place makes on a normal business day.

"We start earlier with different ones like breakfast pizzas stuff like that which we normally don't have on our menu. But it's mostly just pizza, a lot of people coming in and out," said Alteri.

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