NORTH SIDE EVENT Brier Hill to return to roots by celebrating Italian Fest

The 2005 fest will honor a former Brier Hill resident as man of the year. By DAVID SKOLNICK VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER YOUNGSTOWN -- The sights, sounds and smells of Italy will be hard to miss during the city's 14th annual Brier Hill Italian Fest from Thursday to Sunday. The event on Calvin and Victoria streets runs from noon to midnight each day. Proceeds of the festival benefit the war memorial at the ITAM Memorial Post 12 on Calvin. "It's a celebration to bring people back to their roots," said Claire Maluso, one of the event's organizers and the city's Federal Plaza director. "It's set up like a little Italian village." Brier Hill, on the city's North Side, was a popular location for Italian immigrants to live at the turn of the 20th century, when the steel mills thrived, and it has been known for its Italian food -- including Brier Hill pizza -- for decades, Maluso said. The four-day event features live Italian music, vendors, food and games including boccie. There is no admission charge to the event. The annual event attracts 5,000 to 6,000 people to the Brier Hill neighborhood annually, Maluso said. Man of the year The festival's organizers are honoring the late Daniel Anthony Catullo as the event's man of the year. Catullo, who died April 28 at 74, grew up in a two-bedroom brick apartment on Calvin Street. Like many Brier Hill residents, Catullo had a nickname -- "Bushel." As a kid, when his friends would ask him to play, he would often say he couldn't because he was "cutting the bushels," instead of saying "bushes." Catullo and Tom Rochford purchased Gainard and Price Meats in 1961 on Market Street in Youngstown. The store eventually moved to Southern Boulevard in Boardman and remained open for 23 years. In 1984, Catullo opened Catullo Prime Meats in Youngstown with his two sons, Stan and Joseph. Catullo learned to cut meat when he was in the Marine Corps, which he joined in 1948. He was married for 50 years to the former Mary Ann Gonda. The couple also reared a daughter, Danielle.