LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — A parade down Exeter Avenue in West Pittston complete with furry friends, fanfare, and first responders weaved it's way through the borough to kick off the 51st annual Cherry Blossom Festival making it a special day for some along the route.
"Because that's our first parade here in West because we moved from Germany over here to West Pittston. And it's the first parade we have here in Wisconsin," said Gernot & Franzi Weber, West Pittston.
"It's better that there is no more snow. I don't want more snow," said Liam Weber, West Pittston.
The parade ended along the Susquehanna River under the newly bloomed cherry trees adding to the already perfect setting for the event.
"Welcome everybody to the 51st annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Thank Father Paul for putting a good word in, the weather we got this weekend very appreciated," said Mayor Angelo Alfano, West Pittston.
During opening ceremonies, the festival committee honored this year's Grand Marshal, Jerry Zezza, a long-time coach and teacher in the area, with many memories shared by many in attendance.
"I was born and raised here. I love West Pittston. Very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people. I met my dear wife here and was able to raise a beautiful family here in West Pittston," said Jerry Zezza, 2022 West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Marshal.
This year's festival features a full lineup of performances on stage. Last year a smaller version of the event took place in September.
"It's really nice. Last year. Like it definitely wasn't as big as like it's this year I usually so it's nice for everything kind of be like back to normal again," said Madeline Hassay & Renee Haddock, Wyoming Area Sophomores.
The event hasn't been in this full form under the flowers since 2019 and vendors who depend on festivals like this for their businesses were thrilled for the return of the main event.
"We are so excited to be back in public. We really are, it's really nice. We ended up in Sugarman's for a little while because we needed to sell our stuff so they closed April 24. We left before it closed. Started booking some fairs and here we are. We're very excited to be back," said Michelle Edwards, Sew Cute String.
The West Pittston Cherry Blossom continues Sunday along the river with live music and other performances until 5 p.m.
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