The Update | Immersive Theater Event at The Confluence; Weekend Market at Galleria

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – Youngstown’s Rust Belt Theater Company will collaborate with The Confluence coffee shop and restaurant, 214 E. Washington St., downtown, on Saturday, Oct. 15, for an immersive theater event.

The evening is being produced by creative brother and sister team Robert Dennick Joki and Mandy Haid. It will feature “The Masque of the Red Death” as an interactive dinner theater experience, directed by Joki and based on the novella by Edgar Allan Poe. 

Audience members will be given a masquerade mask to wear (if they choose) and will be tasked with tracking down a scavenger hunt list of characters and clues throughout the building, amidst an atmosphere of song, dance, mystery and dark revelry. Along the way, participants will be treated to a delectable tasting menu prepared by Chef Haid.

“It’s part masquerade, part musical, part escape room, with delicious food and spooky surprises,” Joki said. “And the audience chooses the ending!”

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the performance starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $35, and includes the performance, food, masks, door prizes, and more. Costumes are encouraged, but not required.

Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

Hometown Market at Cascade Galleria

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – Cascade Galleria, downtown, will open its storefronts this weekend for another Hometown Market. Hours are today, Oct. 7, from 4-8 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event will feature more than 40 artisans, small business owners, crafters, bakers, and more. 

Items will include home décor items, New Castle “Home Is Here” items, clothing boutiques, jewelry, baked goods, coffees/teas, wines, collectables, cosmetics, candle and wax melts, resin items, natural pet treats, alpaca items, skin care products, candies, Etsy owners, Amish-made items and more.  The full list of entrepreneurs can be found at

A variety of kid-friendly activities will be found throughout the mall, including a costume contest for kids up to 14 years old. To register, go to the Bones ‘n’ Stones store next to Town Mall Pizza during market hours.  Contest details will be offered upon registration. All kids are invited to ‘trick or treat by visiting the various entrepreneurs (who also serve as the judges for the costume contest).

Area Artists Annual Exhibition at Butler

YOUNGSTOWN – The Butler Institute of American Art’s 83rd Area Artist Annual will open Oct. 23 with an awards reception.

The exhibition is open to artists from the counties of Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull in Ohio and Lawrence and Mercer in Pennsylvania, and features works in all media.

“The Area Artists Annual continues to be one of the most popular exhibitions to take place at the Butler,” said Louis Zona, director and curator of the museum. “Regional talent has proven to be exceptional, making the Area Artist exhibition a showcase of every style and direction of American art. I would have to say that this exhibition has to rank as one of the very best regional shows in the United States and the Butler is proud to host it.”

This year, 223 artworks were submitted by 121 artists for consideration, and 93 works by 64 artists were included.

Diane Schaffstein of the Bonfoey Gallery, Cleveland, was the juror.

Magic Tree’s Chef Returns

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Magic Tree Pub & Eatery, 7463 South Ave., has rehired Tank as executive chef.

Tank had worked at the restaurant from 2014 to 2018, becoming known for his burgers and desserts helping to establish Magic Tree’s reputation. He left to go into consulting and returned effective Oct. 3.

Tank won several competitions for burgers and recently won the Taste of the Valley award for best dessert for his Bananas Foster Bread Pudding Cheesecake. The treat will be offered at the restaurant throughout this weekend.
In addition to desserts and burgers, Tank specializes in beer dinners and pairs the perfect food for each type of beer. 
“With Tank, not only are we able to get back to dessert specials every weekend, but we are able to start running chef specials as well. That’s something we used to do but had to cut back on with the labor and supply chain issues,” said Magic Tree owner John Rudy. 

Candy Crawl at Southern Park Mall

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Southern Park Mall’s annual Candy Crawl, sponsored by Giannios Candy Co., will take place Oct. 14 at 5 p.m.

It’s a family-friendly evening of trick or treating event inside the mall.

A few twists will be incorporated into the event this year, according to Brian Gabbert, general manager of the mall.

Candy Crawl will begin outdoors at DeBartolo Commons, where kids can sport their best costumes and receive sweet treats from their favorite princesses and superheroes. Characters will pass out Giannios chocolates and other treats.

Afterward, families and their children can head inside for additional trick-or-treating with participating retailers and food vendors. Participating stores will place a candy corn sticker on their entrance.

Ballet Mourns Loss of Ballerina Dabney

YOUNGSTOWN – Ballet Western Reserve has released a statement expressing its sorrow over the death of Stephanie Dabney, one of its most famous alums.

“Dabney began her training at Ballet Western Reserve as a young child until 1975, when she was offered an apprenticeship position while participating in a master class with Arthur Mitchell, the founder and artistic director of Dance Theater of Harlem,” the statement reads. “After just six months with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ms. Dabney was offered the position of a full company member.

She built an impressive repertoire with the Dance Theatre of Harlem over her years, which includes her signature, iconic and beloved lead role in “Firebird,” choreographed by John Taras. She was the first African American ballerina to perform the title role. As Firebird, she electrified audiences worldwide, including a performance at the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. “In 1996 Ms. Dabney retired from professional dance and began teaching ballet at Spelman College.”

Tickets Remain for 2nd Engvall Comedy Show

WARREN – Tickets for the first of two shows by comedian Bill Engvall at the Robins Theatre on Oct. 15 are sold out, but seats remain available for the 9 p.m. show.

The Warren shows will be the last chance to see the comedian live, and the only stops of his tour in Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

Tickets range between $69 and $30 (plus applicable fees), and are available at and at the box office, 160 E. Market St.

Engvall can be seen in a recurring role on the hit FOX sitcom “Last Man Standing” playing Reverend Paul. The series, starring Tim Allen, is currently in its ninth and final season.

Engvall was part of the enormously successful “Blue Collar Comedy” concert films, which sold over 9 million units and received a Grammy nomination. He also starred on the WB’s hit sketch comedy show “Blue Collar TV” and in several solo specials for Comedy Central. In 2012 he reunited with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy on the “Them Idiots Whirled Tour,” which aired as a special on CMT.

Mollie B and Squeezebox at Avon Oaks

GIRARD, Ohio – Polka stars Mollie B, Ted Lange and Squeezebox will return to the Mahoning Valley at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, for a concert at Avon Oaks Ballroom, 1401 N. State St. The show is part of the Polka with Peppermint Records series. Sharing the stage will be the Del Sinchak Band.

Avon Oaks features a large wooden dance floor, spacious seating and free parking. Food and beverages will be available. No BYOB. Open seating will begin at 2 p.m.

Admission is $25 at the door or in advance from Peppermint Records. Call 330 783 2222 to order. Checks, debit and credit cards are accepted.

For information, contact Peppermint Records, at 330 783 2222 or [email protected].

Theater Veteran Vargo to Speak

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Mahoning Valley theater veteran Bob Vargo will discuss his lifetime on the stage at a lecture at 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at Denny’s Restaurant meeting room, 4020 Belmont Ave.

The William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society is the sponsor. Admission is $10 ($5 for members). Reservations are suggested; call 330 726 8277.

A child actor, Kenley Players’ performer and local drama director, Vargo, has spent much of life in the theater. He is past managing director of The Youngstown Playhouse. Vargo also taught theater and English at Youngstown’s Woodrow Wilson High School for 35 years, where he coached the speech and debate teams.  He managed theaters and drive-ins for showman Peter Wellman and designed theaters, restaurants, and other performance spaces across the country and internationally. He is a consultant for the Historic Warner Cascade Theatre Museum in New Castle, Pa.

How to Preserve Family Photos

NILES, Ohio – Olivia Beebe of the Trumbull County Historical Society will discuss how to preserve family documents and photographs at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, in the community auditorium at Boscov’s in Eastwood Mall.

Her address is part of the Sutliff Museum’s fall lecture series.

Cider & Ceramics Workshops at the JCC

YOUNGSTOWN — The Paul and Yetta Gluck School of Visual Arts at the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, 505 Gypsy Lane, is offering two workshops this month at the JCC, 505 Gypsy Lane.

Cider & Ceramics, for ages 16 and over, will take place Oct. 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. and 26. Participants will construct an autumn inspired bowl while sipping on cider. They will learn hand building techniques in week 1 and glaze their creation in week 2. Participants will be able to pick up their projects two weeks after the last class date. The cost is $50 for JCC members and $65 for nonmembers.

A mixed media collage workshop for ages 12 and over will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25. Participants will create a fall themed collage with paint and paper. The cost is $25 for JCC members and $30 for nonmembers.

Visit to register.

Travel Author in Free Program

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Travel author Matthew Caracciolo will present a free program Saturday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m., at Boardman Park’s St. James Meeting House, 375 Boardman-Poland Road, for the Boardman Historical Society.

Caracciolo is the author of “Moon Ohio” and “The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea.” As a travel writer, his work has appeared on various platforms and his blog, Travel is Fatal, can be found at He’s currently a tour researcher and writer with Shaka Guide and lives in the Columbus area with his family.

Stambaugh Youth Band in Annual

YOUNGSTOWN – Stambaugh Youth Concert Band will perform its annual fall concert on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at Stambaugh Auditorium. The repertoire will feature works by Randall Standridge, the U.S. Marine Band, Nicole Piunno and Steven Reineke.

The SYCB, founded in 2001, has paved the way for many of its student-members to continue their music education at the collegiate level and to pursue careers in musical performance or music education. It features 71 of the top high school musicians from the region.

Tickets are $8 to $10, inclusive of all fees, and available in advance at or by calling 330 259 9651. The concert will also be livestreamed on the Stambaugh Auditorium website at no cost.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.