Steam whistles will again be heard, if only for a day

There was a time when steam whistles were a daily part of life in the Mahoning Valley, as they marked shift-changes at the steel mills that lined the Mahoning River, and .

The massive whistles have been silent since the ’70s, but the Mahoning Valley Railroad Historical Association still has a few of them, and every so often — including this weekend — they power ‘em up and let ’em loose.

The MVRHA will hold a Steam Whistle Blow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at B&O Station, 530 Mahoning Ave., across the river from downtown Youngstown. Old-timers can relive the attention-grabbing sounds of steam whistles from steel mills and trains at the event.

Those too young to remember will get a tiny taste of what life was like in an industrial powerhouse.

Admission is free, but for a dollar, visitors can pull the cord and blow a steam whistle.

For $20, the MVRHA folks will hook up any whistle brought by a visitor to the steam generator.

The proceeds will go toward MVRHA’s efforts to preserve its steel mill railroad rolling stock and locomotives, which are displayed at the James Marter Yard along Poland Avenue.

Youngstown Thermal is providing the steam for Saturday’s event, and Eagle Mechanical is providing the hookup manifolds. For information, go to


Youngstown rock band The Zou will hold a free fan appreciation show Saturday night at Biketown Harley-Davidson, on Interstate Boulevard in Austintown (next to Quaker Steak and Lube).

It’s part of the grand opening of Soul Custom, which is inside Biketown. Soul Custom, owned by Tom Wronkovich, is a new boutique that sells custom bikes, vintage hi-fi, classic and new music releases on vinyl, apparel and art.

The event will include live graffiti art by UR New York, who will make murals inspired by the music.

The StarBoyz motorcycle stunt team will also perform.

Also performing Saturday will be the Strange Familiar. Music will start at 9 p.m. with The Zou taking the stage at 10:30 p.m.

A large stage will be erected for the show, which will include beer and liquor sales.

The Zou has been recording at Youngstown’s Ampreon Recorder. The new record —the band’s fifth — probably won’t be released until late winter or spring, and will have about a dozen new songs

The planned-out release strategy is a sign of growth for the band, which is putting a marketing plan together with a publicist, said Khaled Tabbara of the band.

Past releases were more of a skin-of-our-teeth affair, according to Tabbara.

“We’d pick up a box of a thousand CDs in the afternoon and take them to Cedars that night for a record-release show,” he said, with a laugh.


Mike Polk Jr., the Cleveland-based comedian who rose to regional fame with his “Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video,” will come to the Funny Farm in Austintown for three shows this weekend.

Polk, who is from Newton Falls and was raised in Warren, has been touring the country for about a decade with his stand-up and sketch comedy. But it’s his videos that have brought him so much fame. At last count, his top three videos have combined for more than 31 million hits on Youtube.

The Funny Farm is on the lower level of Mojo’s, 6292 Mahoning Ave., Austintown.

Call 330-759-4242 for reservations. Show times are 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday.


Greyland Gallery, a unique repository of vintage and unique objects of art, has opened in a storefront at South Phelps and West Boardman streets, downtown Youngstown.

The store, owned and operated by Rocco Sait, is open from 2-6 p.m. Monday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

It’s stocked with retro-modernist furniture, vintage clothing, vinyl albums, vintage toys, and some uncategorizable, but fun, oddities, all available for purchase.


Favorite new drama of the fall TV season? ABC’s “Nashville.”

The one-hour drama (10 p.m. Wednesday) stars Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”), who can do no wrong it seems, and Hayden Panettiere. The two embody the old and new guard of country singers, respectively, in Music City.

Thankfully, ABC recently renewed “Nashville” for a second full season.

Over the weekend, the network cut two other freshman series because of ratings that started low and went downhill from there: the highly-touted military show “Last Resort” and the thriller “666 Park Avenue.” Both series will air the remaining episodes of their 13-episode order.

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