Briar Hill fest opens Thursday on North Side

YOUNGSTOWN — The 16th annual Brier Hill Italian Fest opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at the corner of Calvin and Victoria streets, in the heart of the old North Side neighborhood.

The festival — the longest continuously running Italian festival in the city — taps into its past by rekindling the spirit of the old neighborhood.

Brier Hill became a mecca for Italian immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and was a thriving ethnic enclave for decades.

The neighborhood is perhaps best known for the unique pizza that originated there. Brier Hill pizza — a thick crust topped with roasted green peppers and Romano cheese — has become a specialty of the region. The pizza, along with other traditional Italian foods, will be on the menu at the festival, which also will feature games, vendors and live Italian music.

For more, see Wednesday’s Vindicator and

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