WILKES-BARRE — Paint Pittston Pink came to downtown Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night for a Rockin Roast that drew loads of laughs while raising money for cancer research.
Attorney Jarrett Ferentino opened the evening by sharing a story about nearly setting the Pittston Tomato mascot on fire during last year’s Paint Pittston Pink lantern release.
He recalled how, as everyone else’s lantern gracefully sailed toward the sky to the music of Coldplay, his lantern, which he had released with his young daughter, headed straight for Rosie Fasciana, who was dressed as the Pittston Tomato.
“It hovered above her head and I briefly pictured having to push her into the river,” he said, laughing. “But I ran over and gently tapped the lantern and it headed upward.”
Paint Pittston Pink founders Barbara Sciandra and Qiana Lehman said the light-hearted spirit of the evening was an opportunity for attendees to get to know each other.
Sciandra said Saturday’s festivities served as a kick-off to this year’s Paint Pittston Pink activities which will culminate on Oct. 6 with the annual Color Me Pink 5K, Family Fun Walk and Gentleman’s Dash.
“Each year we like to add something new, to think out of the box,” she said. “This year it’s the roast.”
Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo said he enjoyed making the trip over to Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center, as a show of support for Paint Pittston Pink’s fight against cancer and as an opportunity to highlight the importance of working together with other communities.
Lombardo agreed to be “roasted” for the event. He said he had no regrets.
“I’ve often been accused of saying ‘yes’ before I know what I’m getting into,” he joked. “But this is such a great cause, consistent with Pittston’s beliefs and goals.”
Joe Moskovitz, Pittston city administrator, was the one who roasted Lombardo. He said it was not easy.
“I’m usually serious,” he said. “But I’m here because it’s a great cause which Pittston City is very involved with, dedicating resources to raising money to battle cancer.”
Father James Paisley, who has a background in drama, took the stage and drew laughter in introducing Dave Fusco, who was also roasted.
“I must say, I just met him tonight and I don’t really know him,” said Paisley, who then began dramatically reading word for word from the event program, adding a few “blah blah blahs” here and there.
“Wow, look! He’s a member of the Loyal Order of Moose,” said Paisley.
DJ Lazy E from 97.9X said he initially was reluctant to be roasted, but agreed because of the cause.
“I recently got a call about someone who has fourth-stage cancer,” he said. “More events like these will mean less of those calls.”
Perhaps drawing the evening’s most laughter was state Rep. Mike Carroll when he roasted Ed Ackerman.
Ackerman, an instructor at Luzerne County Community College, is known for his tendency to be upbeat.
Carroll told Ackerman he looked him up on a “Rate Your Teacher” website, which said the level of difficulty of Ackerman’s class was 0.0.
“Well, if your students don’t graduate cum laude, they can’t blame you,” he said.