Last updated: December 07. 2013 2:09PM - 2694 Views
MARIA C. MONTANTE Contributing columnist

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Let the party begin.

And that it did as 424 women from the Greater Pittston Area left their homes, offices, stores, places of business to gather at The Greater Pittston Chamber Women’s Network 20th Annual Holiday Party and Marketplace held at the new convention Center and Hotel Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Tuesday, Dec. 3. It was the largest turnout for this annual affair.

Yearly, the Women’s Network Holiday Party is anticipated and looked forward to as it has become one of the prime social events of the season. This year it was also awaited with curiosity, giving the attendees the opportunity to see the newest hotel and its facilities first hand.

The first reaction when entering the dining room was impressive and festive. One could easily surmise with the beautifully-decorated tables the time, effort, thought and work that was put in the planning of this party.

Speaking with Rosemary Dessoye, Executive Vice President of the Chamber, she related, “Brandi Bartush has been working diligently since October to insure that the party was a great success and we are very grateful for her efforts. Administrative Assistant Shirley Bartos, who has worked for the Chamber since 1991, is the thread that holds us all together and is our bright and shining star.

We often say, as women, we tend to treat everyone much better than we treat ourselves. Well the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network is all about taking time to relax, unwind, set our cares aside and of course, NETWORK.”

The evening festivities began with cocktails from 5 to 6:30 p.m. with a complimentary Cosmo fountain, cash bar and butlered hors d’oeuvres. While sipping Cosmos from long-stemmed glasses, the women were able to browse and shop at the more than 40 vendor stations situated on the outer perimeter of the room. The wares ranged from scarfs, jewelry, handbags, shawls, crafts, baskets of many varieties and food items, giving the shoppers a wide variety of items to select from.

Wined, dined and entertained was the venue of the evening. Lori Nocito, as in the pas,t took to the microphone to narrate the traditional “Left and Right” story which relates the history of the Women’s Network. Mention was made of the late Mary Boylan, former Executive Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and founder of the Women’s Network.

The Women’s Network began in 1993 with the idea for business and professional women to network to help promote their business ventures. It was the era when women were struggling to be recognized in executive positions, political offices and on county and city boards.

At the inception of the Network, dinner meetings were held monthly with 15 members. A woman from the group was selected as the speaker to keynote her business or profession, widening the knowledge of various opportunities and drawbacks. What began as an idea with a small membership has grown to 459 members at present.

This dynamic Women’s Network yearly awards two scholarships to local high school graduates. Recipients are selected for their involvement in their communities.

Attendance at this gala is like attending a family reunion. The joy of seeing friends and acquaintances that do not cross one’s path often is very exciting. The feelings are warm, genuine with many hugs and kisses exchanged. The words “How are you?” are heard over and over again.

I was delighted to see Lucille Maziarz, retired businesswoman, former State Committee Woman and holder of many political offices in the Pittston Area, on the arm of Ann Marie Adonizio. She has been an inspirational woman in our area and has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce for many years.

To make mention of 424 women is a great task; however, permit me to mention some of the women whom I had the pleasure to greet. Mel Pirrella and her daughter Grace; MaryAnn Bellanco, Leona and Patricia Montagna, Shirley Trotta, Marie Guarnieri, Florence Duffy, Mary Hanczyc, Eileen Burns, Ellen Mondlak, Eva Mae Falcone, Columbia Farruggia, Catherine Havrilla, Marion Heycock, Mary Chiarelli, Clairellen Hopple, Josephine Hawley, Lisa Joyce, Lee Bantell, Roseann Ricotta, Roseann Ragnacci, Cathy Turonis, Dr. AnnMarie Stelma Graff, Mary Reynolds, Clare Weir, Lois Detato, Dolores D’Elia, Phyllis Biga, Mary Alice Mazzarella, Karen Flannery, Rita Mecadon, Janet Mecadon, Christa Mecadon, Judy Greenwald, Rosalyn Fasciana, Sandy Cassarella. Mary Pat Scarantino, Meredith Cosgrove, Carol Calabrese and Charlotte Be. Last hug of the night for me was from Alexendra Kokura.

I had the pleasure of dining with Edythe Kepics, Eleanor O’Dell, Rosemarie Amico, Andrea Griglas, Theresa Ormando, Ann Postupack, Ann Sorick and Paula Sorick.

The planners of the party thank Karen Adonizio, Mary Virginia Augello and Kelly Carrol for their extra efforts in contributing to a successful evening.

It was a gala to welcome and celebrate the Christmas season. Everyone took away their own thoughts and memories as echoes of Merry Christmas resounded.

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