GIRARD - After what had been a wet week in Trumbull County with heavy rains, the second night of the annual Girard Mount Carmel Festival was met with clear skies and a warm breeze on Friday.
"I think we dodged all of the bullets," a relieved Myron Esposito, assistant chairman of the festival, said.
The pleasant weather resulted in a large crowd, partaking in the many games, rides, food, drinks and music at the Italian Fraternal Home Club grounds at 33 W. Wilson Ave.
Loni Smith of Youngstown watched as her son, Giovanni, won a stuffed animal by tossing darts at balloons. Smith grew up in Girard just down the street from the festival grounds.
"Ever since I was little, we've come every year," Smith said. "They used to set the fireworks off on the railroad tracks. I would sit in the driveway when I was little and watch them.
"Now, we bring him so he can enjoy it," she said of Giovanni, 2.
Mount Carmel Festival
Where: Italian Fraternal Home Club grounds, 33 W. Wilson Ave., Girard
When: Daily through Tuesday
Nightly entertainment: Includes DJ Steve and Dominic Tucci and the Brotherhood today; Girard Community Band and the Rage on Sunday; Frank Gallo Band on Monday; and Girard Jazz Band and St. Margaret's Blue Coat Band on Tuesday
Parade: 10 a.m. Tuesday, starting at the IFH and traveling to St. Rose Church for a Mass at 11 a.m., followed with a ceremony at Girard Cemetery
Fireworks: 11 p.m. Tuesday at the Girard-McDonald viaduct.
Esposito explained it is these kinds of generational shared experiences that make the festival so much fun.
"We have nice weather, and we get the people to come out and have a sandwich and a good time together," Esposito said. "That's what it's always about."
The Blue Collar Band was the main performer Friday evening.
"I love the music and the fried bologna," John Michaels of Lowellville said. "If didn't have anything else, to come down and listen to the Italian bands and eat a couple fried bologna sandwiches, that would be good enough for me."
Longtime Italian Fraternal Home Club member Joe Kren of Girard said his favorite part of the event is the beverage selection.
"The draft beer is good down here. My buddy that I'm down here with is cheap," he laughed. "He hasn't even bought me a beer yet."
Meanwhile, for Richard Lohr of Howland and his son, Joey, the Tuesday's fireworks show remains the main attraction.
"Our whole family is from Girard, and we come every year," Richard Lohr said. "We love the fireworks, plus seeing all of the old family."