From wedding soup to pizza shops, the Youngstown area is home to many widely-loved recipes and traditions. But, one of our most cherished traditions undoubtedly is the Youngstown Wedding Cookie Table.


Let Us Explain

If you’re not from the Youngstown area, then the concept of a “cookie table” might be kind of foreign to you. In short: It’s our local tradition to serve hundreds (usually more like thousands!) of cookies in an elaborate display at a wedding reception. Many times the wedding cake takes a back seat to the cookie table, with some couples foregoing a traditional wedding cake altogether. In Youngstown, the first thing people ask about a wedding is, “How were the cookies?”


Humble Beginnings

The immigrants that came to the Youngstown area in the early 20th century brought with them many wonderful ethnic traditions centered around food and baking. Money was tight–especially during the Great Depression–and the cost of a wedding cake was often prohibitive. Family and friends would step in and provide an amazing display of homemade cookies to serve at the reception. This time-honored tradition continues today, and it is seen as a way to show love for the newlywed couple.


The “Ingredients” For a Great Cookie Table

Cookie tables may look a little different from wedding to wedding, but there are definitely some cookie varieties that you’ll find on every great cookie table. Let’s break it down:

  • The Classics: At the base of all memorable cookie tables lie varieties like Clothespin Cookies, Kiffles, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Pecan Tarts, Snowballs, Chocolate Crinkles and Thumbprints
  • Straight from Nonna’s Kitchen: Homemade Pizzelles, Biscotti, Ricotta Cookies, Italian Wedding Cookies and Wands (which look like a large bow tie)
  • The Natives: It’s not a true OH-IO cookie table without a hefty helping of Buckeyes. And don’t forget the Kolachi!


Get Inspired   

Check out the Youngstown Cookie Table Facebook group. With over 18,000 members, this page is FILLED with photos and recipes for all cookies imaginable. For ingredient advice, recipe feedback or just cookie entertainment, join the group! You can also “wear” your Cookie Table pride with a cool T-shirt created by Youngstown Clothing Company to commemorate this tradition.


If I Can’t Bake, What Do I Do?

Great question! If baking just isn’t your forte (or if you don’t have time to bake thousands of cookies), look no further than the local bakeries of Mahoning County.

  • Classic Bakery | Boardman, OH – Serving baked goods for over 50 years, you’ll find everything from homemade pastries and cookies, to pies, cakes and donuts
  • Bake Me Treats | Poland, OH – Known for their French macarons and specialty cakes
  • One Hot Cookie | Boardman, OH – Decadent cookies piled high with specialty toppings
  • Butter Maid Bakery | Boardman, OH – Serves some of the area’s best kolachi, using a 150-year-old recipe
  • The Amish Market | Boardman, OH – Baked goods are made fresh and sold in the market
  • White House Fruit Farm | Canfield, OH – Lots of baked goods sold year-round, along with a variety of seasonal items
  • Das Dutch Haus | Columbiana, OH – Traditional fresh baked goods and specialty cakes


Not invited to a Youngstown-area wedding? The Mahoning Valley Historical Society hosts an annual fundraiser each February, Cookie Tables & Cocktails, based around this beloved tradition. It’s a great way to have a Cookie Table experience!


Be sure to follow our Facebook page or take a look at the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website! If you’ve created a cookie table of your own recently, share your photos on social media with the hashtag #VisitYoungstown.

The saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers” couldn’t be more true in the Valley right now! Although we’ve had our share of rainy weather, rest assured flowers will start to pop up throughout Youngstown very soon. Not sure where to find them? Take a look below for some suggestions.


Mill Creek MetroParks – Two ‘Can’t Miss’ Spots

Fellows Riverside Gardens

Home to 12 acres of lush garden landscape, Fellows Riverside Gardens is the perfect starting point for floral finds. Over 40,000 colorful bulbs mark the arrival of spring, from crocus to tulips and everything in between. Visitors (over 400,000 annually) are welcome to peruse the outdoor gardens any day from sunrise to sunset. During rainy days or cool weather, head inside the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitors Center, open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm, to find an assortment of seasonal exhibits, the Garden Café, horticulture books, gifts and more. Fellows Riverside Gardens is hosting a variety of events this spring including their Spring Plant Sale May 10 & 11. Visit this upcoming weekend, April 13 & 14 for the annual Daffodil Weekend where you can peruse the daffodil show, take trolley rides and go on guided walks to Daffodil Meadow.


Wondering what else will be in bloom in the coming months? Here’s a quick list of what you’ll most likely find at Fellows Riverside Gardens throughout the spring season:

  • Mid-April to early May: Daffodils
  • Late April to mid-May: Tulips
  • Mid-May to early June: Shrub Roses
  • Mid-May to late June: Rhododendrons and Azaleas
  • Late May to early June: Iris
  • Late May to late June: Peonies


Mill Creek Park Daffodil Meadow

Between mid-April and early May, trek to the Park’s well-known Daffodil Meadow, where you’ll find thousands of daffodils in peak bloom. Located on the east side of Lake Newport, the Meadow attracts a lot of attention each spring. In fact, the area was even named a top place to see daffodils by USA Today!



Poland Municipal Forest | Bluebell Trail   

Make your way to Poland, and you’ll come across the 265-acre Poland Municipal Forest. With over 30 hiking and biking trails, Poland Forest is known for its wide variety of natural beauty. For the best spring floral views, take the 1-mile Bluebell Trail. The graveled trail starts at the College Street Parking Lot, then heads South before turning back North, reconnecting with itself in the shape of the number six. Along the way, you’ll see brilliant lush bluebells carpeting the forest floor (hence, the trail’s name).

For the best view of the flowers, wait until about the third week of April.



Looking to purchase plants, flowers or hanging baskets? You won’t be disappointed with a visit to any of these popular locations.

Each April, Lonardo’s Greenhouse in Boardman opens its doors to visitors and locals alike. Inside, you’ll find a diverse selection of flowers, and vegetable plants for your garden. For deals and giveaways, keep an eye on Lonardo’s Facebook page (especially around Mother’s Day). Lonardo’s also boasts a vast array of locally grown fruits and vegetables for purchase.

Lutz Greenhouse on W. Pine Lake Road in Salem is open April, May and June. Their greenhouse is bursting with color and their gift shop offers creative arrangements. Want to have fresh herbs for cooking? They have a wide variety available. Save the date for their annual May Day Sale (May 4 & 5) where everything is 20% off.

Petitti’s Garden Center in Boardman has all the colorful plants the season has to offer, from annuals and perennials to all your landscaping needs. Their popular Spring Ladies Night Out will be held April 25 from 6pm-9pm. Experts will be on hand to answer your questions, and a Mystery Coupon will be offered for a special discount. More information and registration (required) can be found on their website.


For more information about all-things-spring happening in Mahoning County, visit our Facebook page or take a look at the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website!