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Sweet streets of summer

February 16. 2013 2:47PM

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Poke your head through a cut-out picture of a round red veggie (or is it a fruit?) surrounded by vines and grin while your friends snap photos of you-as-tomato.

Try to win a goldfish. Play a game of chance.

Limber up your pitching arm and join in the tomato fights.

Or limber up your legs and run the 5K race.

When it comes to the Pittston Tomato Festival, four days of tomato-centered fun in the unofficial Tomato Capital of the World, there are so many ways to have a good time.

"I like when people start coming to the festival, just as it begins," chairman Lori Nocito said. "I just walk around and take it all in. You can hear the sounds and smell the food."

Speaking of the food, Nocito tries to sample as much as she can, but she adds one caveat.

If you're intrigued by the ride in which people are strapped into a harness and, with the help of some bungee cords, get to jump up and down on a trampoline and maybe even turn a few somersaults in the air, she said, "I would suggest doing that BEFORE you eat."

The entire festival is "a fantastic thing," said Rachel Leandri, 17, of Wyoming, who will crown her successor as the Pittston Tomato Festival Queen on Aug. 18. "Everybody works so hard on the food and games and music. It's a great time for families."

While you're at the festival, Nocito said, take some time to admire downtown Pittston.

"It's undergoing an amazing revitalization process," she said. "Last year we were under construction. This year, the city itself is looking pretty sharp with new restaurants, a new streetscape, new sidewalks, new crosswalks. "

Before you leave, she added, you might want to buy fresh produce from the Farmers Market, so you can continue to enjoy the tomato experience at home.


What: Pittston Tomato Festival

When: 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Aug. 17, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 18 and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 19

Where: Downtown Pittston

More info:

Tomato Festival highlights:

5K race: 10 a.m. Aug. 18, with registration at 8:30 a.m. at Pittston YMCA. To pre-register, call 574-0463.

Festival parade: 10:30 a.m. Aug. 18

Pittston Tomato Festival Queen Scholarship Pageant: 1 p.m. Aug. 18

Tomato fights: 1:30 p.m. Aug. 18. Entry fee is $5.

Tomato contest: 7 p.m. Aug. 18, for largest, smallest, ugliest and most perfect tomato.

Sauce Wars: For a $2 donation, festival-goers can sample sauce and vote for their favorite. The winner will be announced at 6 p.m. Aug. 19

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