Come for the festival, enjoy West Pittston

Well, Greater Pittston Pittston Progress has given me my walking papers.
For Saturday’s West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Parade that is.
A group of us from the paper will walk in the parade which starts at noon at the Blue Ribbon Farm Dairy on Exeter Avenue. That could pose a problem. It’s not a particularly long parade route but it may feel that way with a CMP (chocolate, marshmallow, peanut) sundae with peanut butter frozen yogurt under my belt. That’s my go-to sundae at Blue Ribbon these days.
I don’t know why it pleased me so, but I was delighted to see the pink lines on the streets of West Pittston last week. I understand the work was donated by M. Mayo Striping which makes it all the better.
The West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival, held Saturday and Sunday afternoons on the bank along the Susquehanna River near Firefighters’ Memorial Bridge, is a homey, intimate event with a particular emphasis on the borough’s children. Much of the entertainment is by and for children and there will be dozens of crafts for children along with traditional pony rides.
But that does not mean adults won’t enjoy themselves. Some 40 vendors will display their wares and a variety of food is available. I recommend the hand cut French fries.
The festival is a perfect way to shake off those winter doldrums and let the promise of spring and summer warm your spirit. And the weather forecast could not be better.
But for those not familiar with West Pittston, I suggest wearing your most comfortable shoes and extending your festival experience by taking a walk around town. The borough is still attempting to recover from the devastating flood of 2011, the scars of which can still be seen, but they are far overshadowed by the beauty of West Pittston. Stroll along Susquehanna Avenue or any of the streets intersecting with it and you will be spellbound by the beautiful homes and, while it is still early in the season, the well-maintained properties. You’ll soon know why this little town has been nicknamed The Garden Village.
While you can certainly eat your fill at the festival, you may also want to consider Agolino’s Restaurant on Luzerne Avenue for a pre-parade breakfast or post-festival dinner, or walk a little further on Luzerne Avenue to Ballyhoo, a charming, nostalgic ice cream parlor featuring, get this, an old-fashioned candy counter. The licorice pipes always make me think of my dad. They were his favorite.
And, of course, there’s Blue Ribbon, where the parade and this little essay began.
Located on Exeter Avenue, it’s walkable from the festival grounds but you may want to take the car. May I suggest one of my previous go-to sundaes? Hot fudge with toasted coconut ice cream.
You won’t believe their fresh whipped cream.

Ed Ackerman