11th annual Art and Wine Festival draws large crowds

People gather at Hometown Bank Plaza Stage to hear local artists preform during Main Street Kent’s 11th annual Wine and Arts Festival on Sat., June 3, 2017.

Kaylee Peterson

Starting at noon, people filled the streets of downtown for Main Street Kent’s 11th annual Art and Wine Festival Saturday. North Water Street and West Main Street were blocked off for the day to make room for the mixture of local artists, Ohio wineries and bands on the Hometown Bank Plaza.

The crowd comprised families, college students and pets, which remained consistently large throughout the event. 

Senior nursing major Emma Middeldorf said she loved that the event brought Ohio wineries to Kent, making them conveniently all in one place.

“I’m definitely more likely to buy a bottle of wine at this kind of event,” Middeldorf said. “I can taste all of them at the same time and find the best one and the best price.”

Carolyn Pippin, a senior journalism major, has attended the event multiple times, and she said it is one of her favorites.

“The first year I attended I wasn’t 21, so I mainly just walked around and enjoyed the art and food,” Pippin said. “I’m 21 now, and it’s just such a good deal.”

Attendees received a commemorative wine glass and ten taste tickets for $20, with additional taste tickets at $2 a piece. Each taste ticket covered a 1 ounce sample of the attendees choice from any of the wineries in attendance.

“Really, after 10 samples, you might as well just buy a bottle,” Pippin said. “It’s a great way to see what all Ohio wineries have to offer.”

In addition to the wine tasting, local artists held residence in tents woven throughout the street. The Kent State Jewelry Metals Co-op was in attendance for their first time.

Kayla Ewanko, a senior crafts major, said the co-op is a source of support for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni of the jewelry metals program. All of the jewelry on display at the booth was made by a member of the program.

“Twenty-five percent of what we make here goes back into the club, to support programs and speakers,” Ewanko said, “The other 75 percent goes straight back to the students and recent graduates who made the jewelry.”

The club also has sales on campus or features in the ARTshop, but this was their first time participating in the festival — which was good exposure for them, Ewanko said.

The Jewelry Metals Co-op wasn’t the only Kent State affiliate in attendance. The Kent State College of Arts offered a chance for attendees to try out weaving on a loom, and the Kent State Ashtabula campus hosted a booth to represent their wine degree program, one of the only programs like it in the state.

For first-time attendee and senior psychology major Marissa Pillitteri, the festival was one of the best she’s attended in Kent.

“It’s incredible to see so many people come out to support Kent and local businesses,” Pillitteri said. “This is something I plan on definitely attending again.”

Kaylee Peterson is the downtown reporter, contact her at [email protected].