A lilting rain softly sprinkled paradegoers as families, friends and media crews chose their spots on the parade route, while the Marines, Knights, Jaquelines, emergency responders, politicians, nonprofits, the Cino Paci Band, local sports teams and dance troops lined up to follow the green stripe that led the way up Main Street, Pittston, on St. Patrick’s Parade Day.
The 10th anniversary of the parade saw an estimated 10,000 people come through Pittston between the parade, celebrating, shopping and dining.
The day began with Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church, celebrated by the Rev. Joseph Elston, followed by The Leprechaun Loop, a 3.17 mile run with prizes awarded across multiple age categories.
The parade itself was comprised of six divisions and 92 units. It was a kaleidoscope of greens with multiple pipe and drum bands setting the tempo of the day. The day was charmingly festive and whole-heartedly enjoyed by participants and paradegoers. While not the largest parade in Pittston’s history, it was the largest in recent years.
Many beloved individuals featured prominently in the parade. Marty Quinn, an active volunteer in the Pittston community, served as grand marshal. Little Miss Leprechaun Madison Halat, 4, of Pittston, and Little Mister Leprechaun Colton Mininger, 7, of Plains Twp., were fan favorites. The brave men and women of the Pittston City Police Department, Pittston City Bureau of Fire, Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance Association, local firefighters and emergency responders all earned the applause, cheers and waves with which they were greeted.
Elected government officials, as well as Pittston elected and administrative officials were on hand socializing with paradegoers. Irish step dancing schools, American Legions, Pittston Area School officials, Marching Patriots and Cheerleaders, and the Greater Pittston Santa Squad were a few local favorites who excited the crowd.
There were quite a few stars of the day, though it is difficult to say which is the biggest, hypothetically. Speaking literally, then that award obviously goes to the Lowe’s-sponsored 40-foot-high St. Patrick inflatable. St. Patrick settled in the Tomato Lot, keeping a watchful eye on everyone around him.
Another fan favorite of the day was the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile — all the way from Wisconsin! This beloved, comical looking, American classic is in great demand, and Pittston was quite fortunate to feature it once again in the St. Patrick’s Parade.
There was no shortage of excellent food or drink options with Rikasa, Callahan’s Café and Coffee House, Canteen Central, Bravo Tex-Mex Restaurant, The Red Mill, Gramercy, LBC Distillery, The Knights, Tomato Bar, Fuji and food trucks, to name a few.
Brian and Mary Kate (Conlon) Johnson enjoyed the parade with their children Patrick Michael, 5; Daniel Joseph, 3, and Rosalie Brigid, almost 2. The Johnson children have been going to the Pittston St. Patrick’s Parade since they were born, according to their mother, and it is a family tradition that they look forward to every year.
“They loved the parade this year. They loved the floats and balloons, especially the large shamrock,” said Mary Kate. “We had to make a trip over to see the large St. Patrick balloon. They also really enjoyed the music and dancing. It wasn’t just our children who were dancing in the street, but the biggest hit for our three was the candy.”
Brian and Mary Kate have the fondest memories of going to parades with their families when they were little, and described taking their children and witnessing the magic through their eyes as being “so special for us as parents. Parades are more than entertainment. They offer a wonderful sense of community and the Pittston St. Patrick’s Parade is extremely family-friendly. I love that you see so many generations of families together at the parade,” said Mary Kate.
“This parade in particular is a source of hometown pride. My husband and I are so proud to live in Pittston and to show our children what it means to be part of a great community,” she added.
Mayor Michael Lombardo summed it up best: “If you’re Irish, from the city, a fan of parades, or whatever brings you here — just come. We are happy to have you. Once you’re here, walk around and take a look at everything that Pittston has to offer. See what all the buzz is about. There really is something for everyone.”
St. Patrick’s Parade in the City of Pittston
T’was a misty Pittston Parade Day
A day the Irish get a say
We celebrate potatoes
And rain can’t keep paradegoers away
Main Street Pittston with a stripe so lean
The city ready, sparkling clean
Lowe’s shamrock inflated
Sarah Donahue elated
Overnight, the whole town turned green
Festive crowds lined the street
Looking for friends to meet
Older folks seated in chairs
Children playing with no cares
And neighborhood friends to greet
The bagpipes start their vibrating hum
Next we listen for the drum
Irish dancers in their place
To the sidewalks children race
The start of the parade has come ...
The bands play
The city is alive today
Candy flying through the air
Candy, candy, everywhere
Trucks are honking
Sirens are blazing
Dogs are prancing
And leprechauns waving
There’s O’Malleys and Burns, Linnens, too
McArdles, O’Haras and even Berlews
Conlons, Loughneys and Fitzpatricks,
Clancys, O’Boyles and O’Clerighs
Whether you’re Irish, English
Polish or Scotch,
You’re wanted — a lot.
Proud of our heritage
Everyone can surely be
But on this one day
We’re all Irish in Pittston City!