Warren holds homecoming

Food, art, parade bring folks home

WARREN — Warren Homecoming attracted visitors from across the country and across town.

Karla Davis Donahue of San Diego and Sally Trask Fowler of Mecca shared a hug in the Taste of Warren tent and caught up when they found each other on Saturday.

They were classmates at Warren G. Harding High School, graduating in 1958, and Donahue and her husband, Tom, came back from California for Warren Homecoming 2018 and his class reunion for Youngstown’s South High School.

“I’m going to eat a lot of Ohio food,” Donahue said. “I’m eating my way through Ohio.”

Fowler said she loves how Warren Homecoming reunites old friends and classmates.

“It’s great having people come together,” Fowler said.

But Warren Homecoming, now in its third year, doesn’t just introduce those who have moved time zones away to what is happening locally. James Shuttic, director of the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County, said he was surprised by how many residents are unaware of the changes in the city.

“I was talking to someone who was saying it’s so different than the last time they were down here,” Shuttic said. “They didn’t know about the art, they didn’t know there were doughnuts downtown, then you find out they only live two miles away.”

Saturday’s festivities started with a parade, which was part of the first homecoming in 2016 but wasn’t included last year.

The Warren G. Harding High School marching band did double duty Saturday, leading the parade in the morning and then heading to Mollenkopf Stadium, where Harding played Ursuline after Friday’s game was postponed due to lightning.

After the parade, many flocked to Taste of Warren, where 14 churches and restaurants served a variety of local fare. Prince’s subs, the signature sandwich of the pizza shop that used to be located near the high school on Elm Road NE, proved popular again, selling out 150 subs in less than an hour.

Others feasted on old favorites like Sunrise pizza, Buena Vista chicken and Ohio Inn fish, while several churches served ethnic delicacies.

In an area where cookies tables are a wedding tradition, it wasn’t surprising that Blessed Sacrament Church had a steady line of customers picking homemade delicacies prepared by about 50 church members.

Dolly Crockett of Howland wasn’t sure how many cookies they started with — “thousands” was her answer — but they only had a few hundred left with two hours still to go.

“Everybody loves cookies, whether they’re good for you or not,” Crockett said.

One new attraction this year was “Warren: Then and Now,” a collection of vintage photographs of the city displayed alongside images of how those sites look today at the Shortcut Gallery on West Market Street.

“It’s interesting to see how things have progressed,” said Kevin Piros of Cortland. “I’ve seen before and afters of different cities, but never Warren. It’s nice to see something more local.”

Shirley Desenburg Bell, a Warren native who now lives in Cortland, said, “I love this show. I remember a lot of the befores. I remember when the streets were mostly brick.”