Pasta, puddles and morra punctuate Youngstown Italian fest opening today


The 32nd annual Greater Youngstown Italian Festival kicked off today with an abundance of pasta and puddles in downtown’s Central Square.

The celebration of the city’s Italian cultural heritage includes food vendors, a variety of musical acts, raffles, auctions, a pageant and a morra tournament.

Thunderstorms rolled into the city in earnest in the late afternoon, dumping heavy rain on the network of tents and food trailers lining Federal Street between Phelps Street and Champion Street.

By 6 p.m., the streets were quiet other than the impact of raindrops on the asphalt. Most attendees sought refuge from the rain inside the wine and beer tent at the edge of the festival.

Chelsea Fentress was working at the festival when the rain began. She and a friend, Abby Carlson, who had just moved to Youngstown from Akron three days ago, were huddled in a tent waiting for the weather to break.

It was Carlson’s first time at the festival. Fentress assured her that Saturday – with expected pleasant temperatures and all-day sun – would be more indicative of a typical festival experience.

The beer and wine tent

The tent became a microcosm of the broader festival as the downpour continued:

Read more about the event in Saturday's Vindicator or on

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