YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The 30th annual Brier Hill Italian Festival is wrapping up, but the legacy of the pizza continues to live on.
The pizza, which consists of sauce, peppers and grated parmesan cheese, has been around for decades, gaining popularity in the 1940s.
Lifelong Youngstown residents say the tradition of the Brier Hill pizza brings them back to their younger days.
“We grew up with this in Brier Hill,” says Youngstown resident Janice Bertilacci.
Volunteers at St. Anthony’s Church were busy Sunday morning making the signature pie for the final day of the festival. They say it’s more than just a pizza — it’s a hometown tradition.
“My grandfather, my great aunts — it was their grandmother’s recipe,” says Roy Oliver, Youngtown resident.
“My mother made homemade pizza and bread every Friday,” says Diane Kist, Youngstown resident.
They say it brings them back to a different time.
“It goes back a long time,” says Ernie Direnzo. “You know, the family values, and just being with your family, back then meant a lot, so it brings back those memories.”
For some, it continues to be a family affair year after year.
“My daughters love coming down here; they will be the fourth generation. My mother comes occasionally … and helps. My aunt comes all the way down from Southington to come help make pizza every now and then,” says Oliver.
If you missed the festival, Brier Hill pizza is still available. St. Anthony’s sells the pizza as a fundraiser for the church.