Youngstown’s event coordinator says upgrades planned for 2016

Youngstown jazz fest

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown’s Event Coordinator Michael McGiffin said his focus this year is on the quality of events, not the quantity.

McGiffin began the position in November of 2014, and since that time, he has been working to bring visitors to the city through a variety of different events.

Last year’s events included the popular Color Run, Revive Music Festival and VexFest. A Slide the City event — featuring a giant inflatable water slide — was planned for the first time in 2015, but it was canceled due to inclement weather.

As of now, there are no new additions to the calendar, but McGiffin said visitors can expect to see upgrades.

Whether it’s the Brier Hill Italian Fest, Simply Slavic Heritage Festival or the Jazz Fest, tweaks will be made.

“Look for not only things that you loved at those events in the years past, but also look for a little of a face-lift here,” McGiffin said.

He remained mum on the specifics, but McGiffin said he has been listening to feedback from people who have attended past events. Based on that feedback, some events may grow, while others may be scaled back.

O’Donold’s Irish Pub and Grille Manager Tom Erickson said the events the city puts on create foot traffic around the businesses downtown, which is good for sales.

“Anything that enhances Youngstown and draws people to Youngstown would be absolutely amazing,” he said.

New attractions may be coming soon, such as the amphitheater on Market Street, which was discussed by City Council in January. Information on that proposal is expected to be released soon.

Putting a venue in downtown Youngstown would take some festivals off of the streets and clear up traffic, McGiffin said.

“Having a physical venue means we could potentially have an event every other day or every day,” he said.

He said if the city does decide to go forward with the amphitheater, not all festivals would move the venue, because some are better left on the street.

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