A bit of rain only made the cherry blossoms bloom in greater force for the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival’s 48th year of food, vendors and entertainment along the Susquehanna River.
“The blossoms were out and they were beautiful,” said entertainment coordinator Gina Malsky.
The two-day festival spanned Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, in West Pittston, kicking off with a parade on Saturday morning, a main event that Malsky said drove crowds to the main festival grounds for the rest of the day.
“We had a great day Saturday,” she said.
The rain that would come on Sunday held off for the festival’s first day, allowing the parade and opening ceremonies to be well-attended.
Malsky said Mayor Tom Blaskiewicz took time out of the opening ceremonies to honor the 100th anniversary of West Pittston’s Women’s Club and parade Grand Marshal Peter Sidari.
As Saturday’s events continued into the annual Little Miss Cherry Blossom Contest, Malsky said crowds of “hundreds and hundreds,” roamed the festival grounds, enjoying the selection of food and local craft vendors.
“There’s always quite a bit of people there after the parade,” she said.
Sunday brought clouds and rain to the area, but the weather stopped short of totally dampening the spirits of the festival committee and the residents who look forward to the event each year. Malsky said while Sunday did not draw the same crowds, people still came out to pick up food and browse the craft tents that were sheltered from the rain.
“We keep reminding everybody that the proceeds from our food help the Boy Scouts (Troop 302) go to camp,” she said. “Even if it’s takeout, they’ll still get lunch or dinner, knowing it helps those Boy Scouts.”
Malsky guessed the festival would turn a profit of between $3,500 and $4,000 this year, on par with previous years.
“It wasn’t a complete washout,” she said. “We still had foot traffic.”
Malsky, of course, would know what to expect from a Cherry Blossom Festival. As a lifelong West Pittston resident, she said she has attended all 48 festivals in some capacity, whether it was as a child or now as a proud committee member.
“It’s fun to be back helping on that end,” she said. “Without the volunteers, the festival would not happen.”
Now, Malsky said, the committee will hold a final meeting to discuss this year’s event, then take a break until around Christmastime when they will reconvene to start planning for festival number 49.