Hot in NEPA
As we flew through the steamy streets of Lackawanna County this week, we were pleased to see so many people out and about at local events, proving, once again, that northeastern Pennsylvania natives love to mix it up no matter what Mother Nature throws their way.
This week’s flight begins at one of our favorite historical venues — the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple.
On Wednesday, we were looking for something different to do and it was easy to find. We just followed our noses to the Cultural Center where we joined a joined a delightful group of foodies for a Scranton first — a Food Swap. Organized by local entrepreneur Danielle Fleming, owner of Danielle & Co. What is a food swap, you may ask? Well, although similar in concept, this is not your grandma’s cookie exchange (although we certainly love those, too). It’s much more. As Fleming explained, a food swap is a recurring event where members of the community share homemade or homegrown foods with each other. Much like the rules of selling items on Etsy, all can join in the swap as long as the items they bring are foods they made themselves.
Marisa McClellan, author of the newly-released cookbook Food in Jars, was on hand to kick things off, and then, the swapping began. Executive Director of the SCC Joe Peters was there to show his support for the new event, and we spotted Don Webster, too. Among the happy swappers we saw in the crowd were Mark Bonfiglio, Lisa Burke, Donna Gard, Barbara Torda, Elaine Banfield Waskovich, Westyn Hinchey and Donna Czarkowski from Cloe & Company. They traded everything from Bonfiglio’s homemade pasta with the letters NEPA stamped on it — how much do we love that? — to Hinchey’s roasted garlic hummus and Gard’s pumpkin chocolate cupcakes. Sounds like a whole lot of yum to us.
On Friday night, we returned to the SCC for another round of Dancing With the NEPA Stars. In the words of fabulous (and fictional) character Elle Woods from the Legally Blonde movies, “Snaps!” for Times-Tribune writer Ashley Teatum. The dancing queen declared victory over one amazing competitor, Michael Colarusso, owner of Colarusso’s Coal-Fired Pizza in Dickson City. On August 16, Teatum will face off against round one winner, Megan Alpert, in the finals.
Our next step took us to beautiful downtown Clarks Summit, where we enjoyed great summer savings during Sidewalk Sales Days, as well as the Second Friday Art Walk. As we fluttered through the festivities, it was a regular Who’s Who of the Abingtons. At Mamma Mia’s, we saw artist Leon Vieira, whose work was on display there. At Sole to Soul, we chatted up store owner Dorothy O’Connor, who welcomed artists Seth Oravec, Esther Staples and Debbie Hamby to her venue. We found artist Jennifer Brandon at Everything Natural, along with Gayle and Dave Averill and store owner Barry Kaplan.
Meegan Possemato displayed her work at Cloe and Company. While we were there, we enjoyed some fresh blueberries with the store’s owner Donna Czarkowski.
Along the way, we also spotted Regina Lanzo, Clarks Summit Borough Council President Gerrie Carey, Clarks Summit Borough Councilman Patrick Williams, and Beverly Bright.
A group of artists from the Glass Artisans Guild exhibited at Beta Bread, with 25 percent of proceeds from their sales benefitting the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter. Artists included Paula Gantar, Anthony “Jack” Lawrence, Jay and Mary Ann Paulukonis, JoAnn Radicchi, Marilyn and Richard Roberts, Lisa Stafursky and Jan Winemiller.
Other familiar faces included: Helmut Kunst, the featured artist of the Art Walk, at Edward Jones; members of the Interlude Jazz Group Richard Lenori, Bill Weber, Sharon Brittingham; owner of Body and Soul Massage Eddie Smith; Mary Koczwara, owner of Mary Koczwara Hair Studio; artist John Jurbola at Sonia’s Contemporary Clothing, and owner Sonia Wysochanski with her daughter, Lisa Stillwagon; Mike Dillon on guitar at Duffy’s Coffee House along with owner Mari Dunleavy Walker; artist Kevin Snow at Angel’s Galeria with owners Charlie and Rosangela DeFreitas Charlesworth; and artist Cindy Reynolds at Lawler’s Affordable Elegance with owner and Clarks Summit Borough Councilwoman Patty Lawler. Before we called it a night, we flew to the Art Auction to benefit the Clarks Summit Arts and Wine Festival planned for August 11 at the Clarks Summit Borough Building, where we ran into Shirley Eagan as well as artist Joe Kubic, who donated some of his hand-thrown pottery.