Youngstown’s Italian heritage celebrated with downtown festival

The Greater Youngstown Italian Festival continues all weekend through Sunday, when there will be a fireworks display

cavatelli generic

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Greater Youngstown Italian Festival, which has been going on for 31 years, kicked off Friday downtown.

The event celebrates the city’s connection to Italian heritage.

“To keep it connected, and I think we did that back in 1985 when a few members decided to get together and have this little get together, and it turned into the Greater Youngstown Italian Fest,” said organizer John Rossetti.

The festival started at 11 a.m. with some Italian music but at 7 p.m., there will be a morra tournament.

“There’s no way you’ll miss the morra tournament. There’s hundreds of guys all over the place screaming at each other,” Rossetti said.

An Italian fest wouldn’t be complete without classic cuisine like cavatelli and sausage sandwiches. Leo’s Ristorante in Howland will be serving gourmet Italian foods through the weekend.

Just an hour after opening Friday, the Leo’s stand was busy making orders.

Fran Delgarbino has been cooking for Leo’s for 48 years, and says every recipe comes from Italy.

“The kitchen is the best part of an Italian home,” she said. “It’s come from all our grandmothers and we try to keep that going. The traditions and the way they cooked.”

Leo’s best sellers at the festival are beans greens, sausage and cavatelli.

The festival continues all weekend through Sunday, when there will be a fireworks display.

There are several other events and festivals planned this summer. For details on what’s coming up in Mahoning, Columbiana, Trumbull and Mercer counties, visit the Summer Events and Festivals 2016 page on

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