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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Kent Heritage Festival takes over downtown Kent

Michael Neenan
Food vendors setup up on both sides of N. Water Street in downtown Kent on July 6, 2024 for Kent’s Heritage Festival.

The twenty-ninth annual Kent Heritage Festival took place in downtown Kent Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with food trucks, cars, vendors, live music and more.

Dennis Campbell, executive director of Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, said the festival is meant to bring the community together.

“It started off as Kent Fest,” he said. “It’s become the Kent Heritage Festival and we tried to do vendors. We try to really support the city, showcase city opportunities.”

The Kent Heritage Festival is organized by the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce which supports local businesses through advocacy, connection and engagement through programming, according to Campbell.

A 1966 Pontiac LeMans parked on N. Water Street in downtown Kent during the Heritage Festival. (Michael Neenan)

One of the activities at the festival was its car show. Participants paid a fee of $10 to show off their cars and enter them into a competition for best car.

“We do top 20 awards, including Best in Show, and we showcase our different cars in the community,” he said.

Many of the entries were luxury cars, with some dating as far back as 1910.

Campbell estimated between 65 and 70 cars at the show Saturday.

The festival also welcomed PBS Western Reserve for a second year, for a story-time that afternoon.

“We also added more to enhance our kids area quite a bit, including bringing PBS in and doing a meet and greet with Daniel the Tiger.”

Daniel Tiger is the titular character from the PBS Kids program Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Stephanie Virgallito, PBS Western Reserve’s marketing manager, said she enjoyed giving out freebies to children that stopped at their table.

“I love when little kids come up to our table and they tell us what they love to watch on PBS Kids,” she said. “It’s the most heartwarming, uplifting, rewarding moment.”

Later in the day, thousands of paper ducks were released into the Cuyahoga river as part of the Kent Jaycees Ducks River Race.

Kent Jaycees’ Will Kulis said they sell about 2,000 ducks at the festival each year.

“It’s like a raffle,” he said. “We’ll sell paper ducks and they’re numbered. And then at six o’clock we’ll drop all the ducks off over the bridge and then we’ll collect them at the end of the river and then based on the numbers they win a prize.”

Kent fire trucks parked on the bridge on W. Main Street during the Heritage Festival on July 6, 2024. (Michael Neenan)

Each duck is purchased by a participant. If their duck crosses the finish line first, they win a $1,000 reward.

Overlooking the river, the Kent Fire Department parked fire trucks on top of the bridge on W. Main Street.

At the end of the night, fireworks set off at Kramers Field Baseball Complex.

Michael Neenan is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Michael Neenan, General Assignment Reporter
Michael is a senior journalism major with a public relations minor. He works as a reporter, covering topics from sports to university administration. Contact him at [email protected]

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