Welcome to summer; don’t travel far for fun

As I’m writing this, the sun is shining outside, the grass is green and the sky is very blue. For certain, summer has finally arrived.

If you’re a regular Tribune Chronicle reader, you probably already have seen the 36-page Guide to Summer 2017 we published May 26. The special section, which we’ve done annually for at least the 20-plus years I’ve worked at the Tribune Chronicle (albeit in different formats), is one of those sections you’ll want to keep handy on your coffee table for the next couple of months because it lists countless upcoming events, concerts, festivals, locations of parks, swimming holes, wineries and other fun things to do without traveling too far throughout the upcoming dog days.

Of course, it wouldn’t be summer in Trumbull County without the festivals that take over many downtown areas, including Warren, Newton Falls, Cortland and others. This weekend, the Trumbull County African American Achievers Association Festival kicked off the 2017 summer festival season on Warren’s Courthouse Square Park. The event highlighted African-American art, lots of music and, of course, great food. It runs through this evening, so there still is time to get downtown to take in Gospel Sunday that includes vocalists, quartets, choirs and mimes.

Here are a few other highlights of great outdoor events to experience in Trumbull County in the next few weeks.

On June 17 and 18, Thunder Over the Valley air show returns to the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, featuring the always thrilling Air Force Thunderbirds. If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience this elite crew of precision fliers from our U.S. Air Force thundering through the Valley in their F-16 fighter jets positioned in heart-stopping formations, you don’t know what you’re missing. The show is free, and I promise, this is one you won’t want to miss.

A little slower-paced event, Ohio Chautauqua, returns its red and white big-top tent to downtown Warren June 20 to 24 for living history portrayals and performances. This year’s theme is “The Natural World.” All the performances take place at 7:30 p.m. under the tent. Other workshops are scheduled during the week at the Warren-Trumbull County Library. All of the events are free.

The Cleveland Indians’ Class A Minor League baseball team, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, will open its home season at 7:05 p.m. June 21 at Eastwood Field in Niles for a three-game series against Auburn.

Of course, River Rock at the Amp is under way with its nearly weekly concerts at the downtown Warren Community Amphitheatre. There is an admission fee, but the entertainment provided by these tribute bands and the fun outdoor atmosphere are well worth the cost. Three upcoming concerts in June include 7 Bridges, an Eagles tribute band, Saturday; Fins to the Left, a Jimmy Buffett tribute June 16; and Dirty Deeds, an AC/DC tribute band June 17.

If you enjoy outdoor concerts at a more relaxed pace, you can check out the W.D. Concert Band Summer Lawn Concert series, beginning June 11 at 7 p.m. The McKinley Memorial Library concert series begins 7 p.m. June 15 with a jazz / oldies / Motown performance on the lawn of the Niles library. Austintown hosts its concert series in the park, kicking off 7 p.m. Tuesday with the Sunshine Riders.

Other outdoor concert series kick off in July in Vienna, McDonald and Mosquito Lake Marina.

This is all just a sampling of what our area has to offer when the weather gets hot. Hopefully you’ll take advantage, get outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Mahoning Valley.

By the way, if you missed your copy of the May 26 Guide to Summer, you still may pick up a back issue at our Tribune Chronicle main office on Franklin Street SE in downtown Warren during normal business hours.

Welcome to summer!