Luzerne Fall Festival welcomes autumn with community spirit

By Geri Gibbons - For Times Leader
Luzerne Police Chief Michael Kotwasinski walked the streets of the borough’s fall festival Saturday with a tiny pug named Reuben, who was arrested for ‘theft of treats.’ The dog was dressed as a prisoner for a pet-costume contest. - Submitted photo
Reuben the pug - Submitted photo
Zachary Ziomek, 3, of East Stroudsburg, draws with colored chalk on Luzerne’s Main Street during the Luzerne Fall Festival. - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader
Sophie Williams, 5, of Swoyersville, is carried by her grandfather during the Luzerne Fall Festival. - - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader
Kernel Moonie’s Gourmet Popcorn Shoppe serves popcorn from a stand during Saturday’s Luzerne Fall Festival. - - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader
Jonathan Healey, 12, and his sister, Madison, 8, both of Luzerne, compete in a game in a bounce house during the Luzerne Fall Festival on Saturday. - - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

LUZERNE — Borough Police Chief Michael Kotwasinski can often be seen walking the streets of Luzerne, working to prevent crime and ensuring the safety of the community.

Saturday’s borough fall festival again found Kotwasinski walking the streets. But this time he was with a tiny pug, dressed in a striped prison uniform, complete with a hat.

“His name is Reuben and he’s entered in the pet-costume contest,” said Kotwasinski, laughing. “He was arrested for theft of treats.”

Kotwasinski said the festival, in its 23rd year, was a great opportunity for law enforcement to get to know residents of the community and to bring out local merchants.

“There are several officers here,” the chief said. “As well as ensuring safety, we’re getting to know people in a fun environment.”

Indeed, the festival, sponsored by the merchants’ association, brought food, music and fun to the borough’s Main Street, with moderate temperatures which many said were an improvement over last year’s heat.

When asked about her favorite part of the festival, Lily Bankes, 10, couldn’t pick just one thing.

“It’s a festival. What’s not to love at a festival?” she said.

As Bankes passed a music area featuring hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, she began dancing.

“Our family comes back every year,” she said.

“Sharkey” from Gem 104, who was providing the hits from past decades, said many people took time to dance for a few minutes when they recognized a song or realized for the first time that they liked the Oldies.

“People seem to be really having fun,” he said

Books, crafts, and no rain

For young book lovers, Cassandra Lennox was signing her new book, “Mama Kangaroo, Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times.”

Lennox, who is from Luzerne, said although she has done multiple book signings, doing one in her hometown was especially enjoyable.

Flo Harris, Harveys Lake, took advantage of the opportunity. She had Lennox sign books for her three grandchildren.

“It’s nice to have a chance to get the books signed,” she said. “It’s a family friendly festival.”

Young art lovers at the festival had the opportunity to craft a pumpkin, complete with a face, in anticipation of Halloween.

Connor Dymond, 7, Dallas, chose a cat theme for his pumpkin, with yellow eyes and black whiskers he carefully placed and re-placed until he was pleased with the feline face.

His mother, Courtney Keezer, said the family attends every year as a way of welcoming autumn.

Garry Wojciechowski, from Michael’s Farm Market, said the business was doing very well at the festival, with corn, tomatoes and peaches being favorites.

Although he was hoping for a bit more sunshine on a mostly overcast day, he was happy that any rain stayed away.

“We were keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.

Luzerne Police Chief Michael Kotwasinski walked the streets of the borough’s fall festival Saturday with a tiny pug named Reuben, who was arrested for ‘theft of treats.’ The dog was dressed as a prisoner for a pet-costume contest.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_cop.jpgLuzerne Police Chief Michael Kotwasinski walked the streets of the borough’s fall festival Saturday with a tiny pug named Reuben, who was arrested for ‘theft of treats.’ The dog was dressed as a prisoner for a pet-costume contest. Submitted photo

Reuben the pug
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_cop2.jpgReuben the pug Submitted photo

Zachary Ziomek, 3, of East Stroudsburg, draws with colored chalk on Luzerne’s Main Street during the Luzerne Fall Festival.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL091618LuzerneFallFestival2.jpgZachary Ziomek, 3, of East Stroudsburg, draws with colored chalk on Luzerne’s Main Street during the Luzerne Fall Festival. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

Sophie Williams, 5, of Swoyersville, is carried by her grandfather during the Luzerne Fall Festival.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL091618LuzerneFallFestival3.jpgSophie Williams, 5, of Swoyersville, is carried by her grandfather during the Luzerne Fall Festival. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

Kernel Moonie’s Gourmet Popcorn Shoppe serves popcorn from a stand during Saturday’s Luzerne Fall Festival.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL091618LuzerneFallFestival4.jpgKernel Moonie’s Gourmet Popcorn Shoppe serves popcorn from a stand during Saturday’s Luzerne Fall Festival. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

Jonathan Healey, 12, and his sister, Madison, 8, both of Luzerne, compete in a game in a bounce house during the Luzerne Fall Festival on Saturday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL091618LuzerneFallFestival1.jpgJonathan Healey, 12, and his sister, Madison, 8, both of Luzerne, compete in a game in a bounce house during the Luzerne Fall Festival on Saturday. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

By Geri Gibbons

For Times Leader