The Update | Handel’s Ice Cream in Austintown to Celebrate 20 Years on Sunday

AUSTINTOWN – The Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream store at 4800 Mahoning Ave. in Austintown will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Sunday, July 30.

The festivities, which will begin at 1 p.m., will include face painting, character appearances, a balloon artist, coloring contests, a prize wheel, giveaways, and more.

“We are so thrilled to be celebrating this big anniversary and to share this momentous occasion with our friends and neighbors,” said Leigh Jaffer, owner of the Austintown Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream. “We have been so fortunate to have our community’s support throughout these 20 years and are looking forward to many more years of serving up our high quality and delicious ice cream.”

Jaffer is the daughter of Handel’s owner Lenny Fisher, purchased the company in 1985 from founder Alice Handel.

Fisher was vital in the growth and expansion of the brand, particularly through franchising. He currently serves as company chairman.

Leigh Jaffer learned the legacy of the business at an early age, having worked in the stores scooping ice cream before transitioning to a corporate role and buying a franchise with her husband, Dr. Adil Jaffer.

 In addition to the Austintown location, the Jaffers also own Handel’s stores in Broadview Heights and North.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream has been in the business of making and selling fresh ice cream since it was founded in Youngstown in 1945.

Each batch of Handel’s ice cream is made fresh daily, using Alice Handel’s original methods and recipes. There are 48 flavors available daily and more than 140 flavors that rotate seasonally.

 In 2023, Handel’s was ranked on Franchise Times’ “Fast & Serious,” a list of the smartest-growing franchises for the year.

Handel’s currently has more than 100 locations across 11 states. To learn about Handel’s franchise opportunities, click HERE.

Austintown Author Wins Award

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Nancy Christie is one of the winners of Speak Up Talk Radio’s Firebird Book Awards contest.

Christie’s award is for her new novel, “Reinventing Rita,” which was in the Summer Beach Read category.

“Winning this award for my debut novel meant a great deal to me,” said Christie, of Austintown. “What makes it even more special is that the entry fee helps support women and children who are experiencing homelessness, including the shelter Enchanted Makeovers, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.”

Authors and publishers worldwide submitted their work to the Firebird Book Awards.

Makers Market Returns to Galleria

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – The Growers & Makers Market, now in its second year, will take place in the parking lot of the Cascade Galleria, facing Jefferson Street, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 14.

It features goods from local farmers, crafters, and bakers, and includes produce, homemade natural dog treats, floral arrangements, Amish baked goods and donuts, crystals, candles, custom clothing, handmade jewelry, and more.  Sweetpeas Comfort Spot offers provides a new menu of prepared food for lunch each week.

All of the stores inside the Galleria will also be open.

To become a vendor, at Growers & Makers Market this year contact JoAnna Stoner at

Alice Cooper Tribute Band at Robins

WARREN, Ohio – Coop’s Nightmare, the Ultimate Alice Cooper Tribute Band, will come to the Robins Theatre for a Halloween-season show on Oct. 28.

Opening act for the 8 p.m. concert will be Sanitarium, a Metallica tribute.

Coop’s Nightmare covers Alice Cooper’s career from the late ’60s to the present, featuring the props and antics that the shock rocker has made famous. Guillotines, monsters and other props are part of the act.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 on the day of the show (plus applicable fees) and go on sale Friday, July 21, at 10 a.m. at and at the box office, 160 E. Market St.

A presale for members of Friends of the Robins Theatre will start at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Poetry Readings at Westside Bowl

YOUNGSTOWN – Lit Youngstown will present two free poetry readings next month in the Trophy Room of Westside Bowl, 2617 Mahoning Ave.

On Aug. 2, Cleveland poets Gina Tabasso and Russell Vidrick will read their works.

On Aug. 10, the Rust Belt City Poetry Tour will visit, featuring six poets.

Julie Cancio Harper will co-host the Aug. 2 reading, which will be followed by an open mic.

Vidrick has been reading and writing in Cleveland for more than 30 years.

The Rust Belt City Poetry Tour reading will feature Jason Baldinger (Pittsburgh), Mitch and Angel James (Cleveland), Jonie McIntire (Toledo), Karen Schubert (Youngstown), and Paul Trombley (Detroit).

“The Rust Belt City Tour is the offspring of a night filled with literary readings and rounds of stouts and Irish whiskey at the Gaelic Club in Detroit,” said organizer Mitch James. “The tentative plan at the time was to corral a bevy of rust belt writers around a lone microphone on a single night consecutively for five nights, beginning in Detroit and making our way south to Toledo, Cleveland, Youngstown and Pittsburgh.”

Pictured at top: The Austintown Handel’s ice cream store will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Sunday.

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