Fun, Food, Friends and Tomatoes
Here’s everything you need to know about the iconic 39th Annual Pittston Tomato Festival.
Late August means many things to many different people. For some, it’s those waning days of summer vacation. And for others, it’s the signal that it’s time to start packing away the summer clothes. For faithful festival-goers in NEPA, however, August is all about those beautiful Pittston tomatoes. Ok, ok… it’s also about 4-days of delicious, homemade food, awesome live entertainment, the parade, the annual 5K and so much more.
Yeah. Traditionally, if it’s late August in NEPA, we’re all about the Pittston Tomato Festival. And we’re not alone. The festival, a summer tradition for many local families, has grown to draw in over 75,000 visitors each year.
This year’s festival runs from Thursday, August 18 through Sunday, August 21. And while you can expect pretty much the same beloved festival as in year’s past, 2022 has brought on some significant changes.
Of course, there will be plenty of incredible, local food vendors dishing out everything from homemade Italian favorites to pizza to fried Oreos and more. And you’ll still get to dance the evenings away to the tunes of a bunch of popular local bands. As always, you’ll wake up early on Saturday for the Tomato Run. And then stick around for the parade, and the Best Tomato contest, and the Little Miss and Mr. Tomato contest.
But this year, there’s even more.
New For 2022!
This year’s festival will feature a variety of safe, fun carnival rides.
Located in the Tomato festival’s third tier – the parking lot behind the Pittston Memorial Library – attendees will find 8-10 awesome carnival-style rides. A stunning, 42-foot Ferris wheel serves as the centerpiece and offers panoramic views of Downtown Pittston. Alongside the Ferris wheel, the festival will also feature an assortment of rides for all ages, like Kite Fyers, Dizzy Dragons and even a Mechanical Bull.
Individual ride tickets cost $1.50, but the festival will also offer “All Day” wristbands. The wristbands, available all four days, cost $15 on Thursday and Friday and $20 on Saturday and Sunday.
Pro tip: Tomato Festival sponsor, T-Mobile, is offering exclusive “Buy One/Get One Free” wristband vouchers at their stores throughout NEPA. Simply stop in, pick up your voucher and bring it to the ticket booth located behind the Pittston Memorial Library.
2022 Festival Food and Events
The Ultimate Tomato Run
The Ultimate Tomato Run, formerly known as Miles for Michael, is an urban-course 5K held on Saturday morning. The race benefits Shop with Cop and Miles for Michael. This year, race day also features a 1.5-mile Youth Run and Fun Walk. Participants can also race as a team to earn a trophy and bragging rights until next year’s race. Awards will be offered to the fastest team, the top 3 male and female overall in both the 5K and Youth Race and the top male and female in each age group. Register for the race here.
39th Annual Tomato Festival Parade
Of course, no Pittston Tomato Festival would be complete without the parade. This year’s Grand Marshals – the 2021 PA State Champion Pittston Area High School Varsity Softball team – kick off the festivities on Saturday, August 20 at 10:30 am. Grab your spot along the 2-mile route to check out tomato-themed floats, marching bands, firetrucks, bagpipers and so much more. The official parade route begins on Main St. in South Pittston and proceeds through Downtown around to Kennedy Blvd. and ends on East St.
Best Tomato Contest
There’s a reason this whole festival exists. It’s those gorgeous, tasty Pittston-grown tomatoes. Make your way to the Committee Stand on Saturday, August 20 at 7 pm to see whose exceptionally plump and vibrant tomato takes home the crown as the “Most Perfect.” Ribbons will also be awarded for Largest Tomato, Smallest Tomato and Ugliest Tomato. The contest is free to enter. Eligible tomatoes must be dropped off by Saturday at 5 pm.
Little Miss. & Mr. Tomato Contest
Stop by the Festival Bandshell on Sunday, August 21 at 11 am for what’s becoming one of the festival’s most popular events. The Little Miss and Mr. Tomato contests are open to boys and girls ages 2-6. One winner and runner up will be selected in each category. Prizes will be awarded. The entry fee for the contest is $5. All contest entries must be submitted by Tuesday, August 16.
Live, local music rounds out the list of awesome events at this year’s Pittston Tomato Festival. All four days feature a handful of local bands and a variety of music styles to get you jumping out of your seat. Check out this year’s schedule:
Thursday, August 18
6:15 pm – Windfall
7:15 pm – Phyllis Hopkins Trio
8:30 pm – Tori Viccia
Friday, August 19
5:30 pm – Burn the Jukebox
7:00 pm — Sperazza Band
9:00 pm – Sweet Pepper and the Long Hots
Saturday, August 20
3:00 pm – Luongo Brothers
5:30 pm – Taxman
7:00 pm – Flaxy Morgan
9:00 pm – Great Rock Scare
Sunday, August 21
1:00 pm – Danny Argo
2:30 pm – Living Cash
4:30 pm – Shakin-Eddie Money
6:30 pm – Tony’s Wine Cellar Jam
And finally… all that irresistible food.
Finally, if everyone had to pick just one reason for attending the Pittston Tomato Festival, the easy money would be on the food. You have four days. So, you can just keep coming back to try all the different pasta dishes and pizzas, the sausage and peppers and the cannoli. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a little local wine or birch beer.
The festival’s second tier will feature dozens of local specialty vendors, local restaurant stands and more. You’ll also find plenty of local vendors offering arts & crafts and homemade products.