By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Ask Noreen Scott about the Christ the Good Shepherd Parish Festival, which she and her husband help to organize each year, and she’ll immediately tell you about one thing: the food.
“We have four different ethnic churches combined into our parish,” Noreen Scott said. “I think we are the only festival around that has such a variety of the ethnic foods.”
And all of it — from the pizza to the pierogi to the pastelillos — is homemade.
Noreen Scott noted that this year’s festival is the third since the Diocese of Youngstown consolidated the St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph the Provider, St. Lucy and St. Rosa de Lima churches into one parish. The festival is one of the parish’s bigger fundraisers, and it will take place from Thursday through Sunday on the grounds of St. Joseph the Provider, 633 Porter Ave.
But aside from the smorgasbord of Italian, Polish, Slovak and Spanish foods prepared by members of each of the churches, not to mention the bevy of traditional festival offerings like hamburgers and french fries, the festival’s entertainment also reflects the parish’s diversity.
DJ Chico Gonzalez will take the stage Thursday, followed by Power of Praise on Friday and the Del Sinchak Band on Saturday. Sunday’s entertainment will consist of a 3 p.m. polka Mass featuring the Eddie Vallus Band, then performances by John Gabriel and Following June at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
Wesley Scott, Noreen Scott’s husband and festival co-chairman, explained that the Christ the Good Shepherd Parish Festival is “a real melting pot,” and that he enjoys the chance to see “all of the different cultures coming together.”
“Everybody can share each other’s culture,” he said.
Rides, games, raffles and auctions also will be available during the festival, which opens at 6 p.m. both Thursday and Friday, at 5 p.m. Saturday, and at 4 p.m. Sunday. It closes at 10:30 p.m. each night. Admission of $3 is charged only to those under 18 years of age who are not accompanied by an adult and only after 8 p.m.
Overall, the Christ the Good Shepherd Parish Festival is a very safe, family-oriented affair, with most booths staffed by parish volunteers, said Noreen Scott.
One of those volunteers is Lucy Cioffi of Campbell, who has belonged to St. Lucy Church since 1960 and has been helping out with the festival for years.
Foods that she’ll help to sell there include pepperoni rolls, sausage sandwiches and Italian fries (fried dough sprinkled with Romano cheese, and served with a side of tomato sauce).
Cioffi added that the annual festival allows the parish’s many members to stay connected.
“I enjoy the people, our church,” she said. “It keeps us all as one family.”