Many years ago, before the tomato sculpture showed up where the pharmacy used to be, I went to school in Pittston. St. John the Evangelist High School no longer exists (you really date yourself when your school is no longer alive), and the town of Pittston has undergone a renaissance of sorts.
I have a fondness for Pittston, and I need to go back to shoot some street photography. It's the ideal location to pick up small town life on camera.
The festival started with an idea to celebrate local tomato producers. In the beginning a downtown parking lot was all it took to showcase the event. Now expanded to multiple lots and back streets, the festival includes a parade with marching bands from local schools, a 5K run for a local charity, kid-oriented competitions for the titles of Little Mr. and Miss Tomato, and a scholarship pageant for a Miss Tomato Festival Queen.
Local restaurants get involved in the Sauce Wars, judged by festival goers, who cast their votes for the Best Marinara Sauce. There is, without a doubt, a Tomato Contest, with award ribbons going to largest, smallest, most perfect, and, yes, ugliest tomato.
One of the more popular events is the big tomato fight, held in the parking lot of Cooper's on the Waterfront. Only rotten tomatoes, which cannot be used for any other cause or for eating, are used, thereby silencing nay-sayers who might complain about food waste.
The food vendors are myriad. From New York pastries to homemade ravioli, you can't go wrong.
We spent an early evening at the festival sampling the wares. Below are some photos from our visit.