Lent begins next Wednesday but the Italian community of Youngstown celebrated their own Mardi Gras Friday night called Carnivale. At the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel social hall Friday night, guests indulged in traditional Italian dishes and drinks. Their goal was to try to persuade Youngstown State University to change its decision to end its Italian St...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica has set its annual Carnevale di Venezia, or Italian Mardi Gras, for 6 p.m. Friday at the church’s social hall, 343 Via Mt. Carmel, Youngstown. “The event promotes the support and study of Italian language and culture in the Mahoning Valley,” reads a news release. Festival-goers can enjoy Italian cuisine and “specia...

In case you're unaware, Youngstown State University just dropped one of the most fundamental majors contributing to the education of our culture and heritage: Italian and Italian Education. I cannot begin to fathom that they would cut this when Youngstown was once thriving with 20-30,000 Italian immigrants in Briar Hill. Italians contributed to mak...

Bocce players throughout northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania know about Cassese’s MVR in Youngstown. The landmark restaurant, with its covered outdoor courts and bar, is a glorious setting for the bowling game. Tournaments there draw players from several states. On the local side, The MVR’s 86-team league has matches every night. It’s likely...

Two buildings on the Youngstown State University campus will get new names in recognition of a donation from John J. and Janet Cafaro and their daughters, the Honorable Capri Silvestri Cafaro and Renee Lynne Cafaro. “Our heartfelt thanks to J.J. and Jan for this generous gift and continued strong support for the university, our students and the ent...

As festivals make their comeback, there’s one on Youngstown’s north side this weekend that may be small in size — running only about two blocks — but has a huge history and attracts quite the crowd. It was 30 years ago, the streets of Brier Hill neighborhood lit up for the first time with the Brier Hill Festival. “This was where the first Italian i...

The organizers of the Greater Youngstown Italian Fest believe in tradition. In a year when they had less time to plan than usual, that’s a good thing, according to chairman John Rossetti. “We didn’t get the OK until the beginning of June, but we started planning in March, April and May to get it done correctly. That’s where we’re at with it. Slowly...

People preserve their family history in scrapbooks or family trees. One family in Youngstown has preserved theirs in a podcast. The podcast is hosted by Marco Zaza, who grew up on Youngstown’s east side in the 50s, and his son David, a Boardman graduate. As it turns out, their stories are more than just their family. With Italian music in the backg...

Mount Carmel Basilica hosted its Italian fest Sunday evening in a different way. Normally, the fest is held in the church’s parking lot. When the event was planned in January, the church wanted to be safe with the pandemic. So instead, they held a concert in the church’s event center for their parishioners. “Monsignor wanted to bring people back in...

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society will debut “Youngstalia: Italian Foodways in the Mahoning Valley” in its monthly Bites and Bits of History online video presentation at noon on July 15. The program will explore the history of local Italian food, culture and traditions. The main presenter, Anthony Dion Mitzel, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of...