Taste of Warren serves food, memories at this year’s Homecoming

Warren G. Harding High School Madrigals and New Tomorrows Singers perform at the Warren Homecoming 2017 Saturday afternoon on Courthouse Square. Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple

Click here to see a slideshow of photos from Warren Homecoming 2017.

WARREN — The members of the Warren Western Reserve Memorial Committee don’t know the secret of the original sub from Prince’s, the pizza and sub shop that was located for decades near Warren G. Harding High School.

Judging from the folks who lined up to buy the sandwiches, the secret was the memories those subs sparked.

“When I went to Harding, I used to go there two, three days a week,” said Ed Snell of Warren, a 1966 Harding graduate. “When I heard about this, I said I have to go down there. I bought five, and I would have gotten more, but I didn’t want to be greedy.”

The memorial committee was one of 24 vendors at Courthouse Square Saturday for the second Taste of Warren, one of the most popular events planned as part of Warren Homecoming, a weekend of activities designed to lure back area residents who may have moved away.

Most of those vendors still are around today, from historic restaurants like Sunrise Inn, Cafe 422 and Buena Vista Cafe to newer businesses such as Cockeye BBQ, The Lime Tree and The Speakeasy Lounge. But Prince’s has been closed for years. The committee ordered 100 full-size subs from the woman who bought Prince’s from the original owner, and they were sold out in less than two hours. They only lasted that long because they were waiting for part of the order to be delivered.

Wendy Sfikas, a 1995 Harding graduate, waited patiently with her daughter Kiara, 14, for the final batch to arrive.

“This brings back memories of my family,” she said. “When I was young, this was our favorite dinner to get.”

Karen and Tom Bishop were sharing plates from the old (Uncle Nicks’ Greek-fried chicken from Buena Vista) and the new (pulled pork sliders from Cockeye). The high school sweethearts from Harding’s class of 1964 made the trip from Greenwood, S.C., specifically for Warren Homecoming. They came for a visit last year and missed the first Homecoming by two weeks.

“I followed it last year on Facebook and was so disappointed we missed it,” Karen Bishop said. “We drove around to all the old houses where we grew up in and took pictures, and we went past the church where we were married. We’re going to (Harding’s) band night tonight. This is wonderful.”

The Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County planned its final art hop of the year to coincide with Homecoming, and artists were set up along North Park Avenue and West Market Street selling their work.

“We’re seeing a lot more people from out of town and all ages, which is good,” said FACT Director James Shuttic. “We’re seeing a lot of people who didn’t realize that art is even a thing downtown … An event like this really does help make people aware of what we’re doing.”

At the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, a literary landmark plaque from the American Library Association was unveiled Saturday that honors Warren native and author Earl Derr Biggers, best known for writing several novels featuring Chinese-Hawaiian detective Charlie Chan.

Only four other Ohio authors have been honored with one of ALA plaques. Assistant Director Jan Vaughn said she learned about the literary landmark program in one of the magazines she gets.

“We were talking about what we could do for Warren Homecoming,” Vaughn said. “We could apply for one of the plaques. We did and we got it. Now we’re celebrating.”

The library had other Biggers memorabilia on display, including copies of The Cauldron, a literary magazine he started as a high school student in Warren.

A permanent location at the library for the plaque hasn’t been chosen yet, Vaughn said.

The library also announced Saturday that next year’s “One Book, One Community” choice will be “The House Without a Key,” the first Charlie Chan novel written by Biggers. Library patrons will be invited to read the book and take part in discussions and other special programs planned next March.

“All of our libraries and some of the other libraries in Trumbull County will take part,” said Cheryl Bush, public relations manager.

Other activities Saturday included trolley tours of the Garden District, a Party on Park in the afternoon, an autograph session with former NFL players with local ties and art shows at the Box Gallery and Trumbull Art Gallery.