Fried cheese a hidden gem of Niles Mount Carmel Fest

NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – The Mount Carmel Festivals in Niles and Girard both kicked off Wednesday.

The Niles fest had rides, games, live entertainment and, of course, plenty of food.

One of the fest’s most locally famous food items is the cheese puff — or the fried cheese.

“Legend says it started in the schools,” said Father John Michael Lavelle. “The mothers didn’t know what to do with their government cheese, so they made their soft Italian dough. They put the cheese in it, they deep fried it. We smell 20,000 of them over five days.”

Ten percent of all funds the parish makes from the festival go right to charitable groups with the city of Niles.

There was also plenty of Italian food, games, and fun in Girard too.

It’s one of the only festivals that happen in Girard.

Organizers say it’s important to have it every year to give the community something to look forward to.

“It brings our community together, it brings our heritage together, our kids — everything,” Raymond Rogozzine Jr. said.

Both festivals runs through Sunday.