Weekend Entertainment | It’s Downtown Comeback Time

Downtown Youngstown has been struggling through a downturn since the pandemic, and business owners and city officials have been urging folks to give it a second chance.

Anyone who has so far resisted that invitation might want to drop by Saturday. Downtown will be hopping that day with the Simply Slavic festival at The Amp, PenguinPalooza rock fest at Penguin City Brewing and an AEW wrestling card at Covelli Centre.

Simply Slavic is in a new location this year but will offer the same good time.

The annual festival celebrates the people and culture of Eastern Europe and features authentic food, drink and music of the Slavic nations. It was launched in 2011 and has taken place on East Federal Street, downtown, every year.

Street reconstruction has left the first block of the street closed, and the festival originally planned to just move down a block.

Then came the tragic May 28 gas explosion in the Realty Tower, which has turned the zone around the structure into a hazardous area and forced Simply Slavic to find a new location this year.

The festival drew 7,000 people last year and will easily be the largest ethnic festival to ever take place at The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre. It looks good, too, as the organizers have given the downtown venue the look and feel of a festival ground.

Four large open-sided tents have been set up along the perimeter of the spacious flat concrete area that extends from the stage in a semicircle.

The dozens of music and dance acts at the festival will perform on The Amp’s big stage, which sits well above ground level. The space in front of it will be an open-air zone for spectators and dancing. The improved sight lines and The Amp’s sound system should be an improvement over the entertainment tent that the festival typically sets up on Champion Street each year.

The Amp’s gently sloping lawn will provide a green space where guests can spread out a blanket or relax in lawn chairs to eat, socialize and watch the entertainers.

As always, the festival will culminate at 10 p.m. Saturday with the lighting of the bonfire.

Simply Slavic will run from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 (free for children age 12 and under).

To learn more and view the entertainment schedule, click HERE.

Tickets for the AEW wrestling show, which will start at 7 p.m., start at $15 and can be purchased HERE.

PenguinPalooza will start at 1:30 p.m. and will feature The Labra Brothers, Sedona, Goners, Speedo Agreedo and about 20 other bands. Tickets are $15 at the gate. To learn more, click HERE.

For a complete look at everything going on in the Mahoning Valley, check out The List.

Pictured at top: This view of The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre from the Market Street Bridge shows the setup for the Simply Slavic festival, which will take place Friday and Saturday.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.