June is almost over, and that means that the Trumbull County festival season is swinging into high gear. There have been several festivals in June, but it seems that July and August are peak time for churches, civic organizations and counties to hold their celebrations.
I would be remiss if it did not mention our own great Trumbull County Fair that runs from July 9 through 14. This is a fair not to be missed for the many attractions and events it offers. There will be music (on the 12th Savannah Jack as well as a great girl group, the Redhead Express) and activities ranging from 4H exhibits to chainsaw woodcarving.
I love to stroll through the agricultural exhibits as well to see who has won a prize for homemade food. As some of you will remember, I have been horse crazy all my life, so I get my fill of horses at the Trumbull County Fair.
Church festivals are always a source of fun and great ethnic foods. We here in Trumbull County have a number of particularly good ones. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Festival in Niles is slated this year for July 17-21. Mt. Carmel is known for its cheese puffs, and if you have not tried them, you should.
It is also a great place for meatball sandwiches, pizza and cavatelli, along with the usual french fries, funnel cakes and the like. Mt. Carmel is a small parish with loyal parishioners who put on a first-class festival.
The Eastwood Rib Fest is in its 27th year and is at its new location in the front parking lot of Eastwood Field in Niles. Awards will be given for the best ribs and best sauce and there is even a People's Choice award.
Entertainment this year includes rock, country, blues and Southern rock playing over three days. One of the bands features some original members of Starship and another of the 1970s-80s bands, Boston. Being a person of a certain age, these bands certainly appeal to me.
The St. Demetrious Festival on Atlantic Street N.E. in Warren is always a favorite of ours. The Greek food cannot be beat. It is authentic, plentiful and reasonably priced.
The music is traditional too, so much so that you can imagine yourself on a Greek island while you sample the wonderful cuisine. I remember dancing the Zorba-the-Greek dance there one year, complete with waving a hankie. Anthony Quinn would have been proud of me.
The 29th Annual Warren Italian-American Festival, which is held downtown on Courthouse Square, runs this year from 4:45 p.m. on Aug. 8, when there is a ribbon-cutting ceremony, to Aug. 11. Dance a tarantella, eat a cannoli, and visit with friends. It seems everybody who attends is at least a little bit Italian on these days.
There will be a wine-tasting contest, a contest for the best pasta sauce, children's entertainment, music, a parade and more.
St. Mark's Church on Loganway in Liberty will have its annual Lamb and Chicken roast on Sept. 15. The church also will have an ethnic bake table with lots of Middle Eastern delights available for takeout. Sample stuffed grape leaves, spinach pies with feta, almond cake and many other goodies.
All of these festivals remind me of a neighborhood festival I used to attend as a little girl. It too was in Trumbull County. Parkwood Days in Girard were three days in late summer that we all looked forward to. There were carnival rides, a dunking booth, a place to fish for prizes, a bingo tent, lots of local food and fireworks on the last night.
Looking back on it now, I realize that Parkwood Day was a small festival taking up no more room than a softball field. To a little kid it was huge and magical.
Parkwood Days is a thing of the past but happily the county still has much to offer in the way of festivals and cook-offs. Take your kids or your grandkids and know that you will be building memories. What may seem average to you will be magical to them. See you there!
O'Connell is a Brookfield resident. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.