Youngstown event boosts downtown businesses

Burger fest in downtown Youngstown, Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Downtown Youngstown was alive Friday night.

Crowds of people were along West Federal Street to enjoy “Burgers, Beards and Brews,” an event filled with live music, good food and good drinks.

It is also good for downtown businesses.

“Overall, people are a lot more satisfied because there is quite a lot more people down here on a Friday night at 6 p.m. than there would be normally,” said Michael McGiffin, Youngstown Director of Downtown Events and Special Projects.

Jeff Kurz, co-owner of Imbibe Martini Bar and Ryse Craft Beer and Whiskey Bar, said events such as this are like striking gold.

“They are coming to the downtown area to experience it. They typically go from one establishment to another, spreading the money, spreading the wealth. It is almost like getting tourism dollars downtown when they do it,” Kurz said.

Those involved with the event said the festival is a great way to shine a positive light on downtown.

“Downtown you know has been building up slowly. There has been a lot of negative press about downtown over the last 10 years. Now people feel safe coming downtown,” Shawn Allen of the Duck Island Club said.

“You see the reports, you know downtown Youngstown is getting a bad rap. It should not be. It is really coming back and we want to help promote that,” Ray Hall, sales manager for Wholesale Fireworks said.

“Youngstown is beautiful and it deserves more than what it’s been given. We are ready to bring the life back here to Youngstown,” Heather Mullins, general manager for the New Manhattan said.

Business owners said events like this are good for downtown Youngstown, while locals say the food is good overall.

“Right now, my whole body is happy. It is pretty good stuff. I would try it again. I recommend the peanut butter sauce. It helps any bad meal,” Tom Goetz of Salem said.

The Burgers, Beards and Brews festival will continue on Saturday at noon with a burger competition and a beard and mustache competition throughout the day. There also will be a car show on West Federal Street, with cast members from the Discovery Channel’s “Fat N’ Furious” as judges.

Admission for the festival is $5.

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