Kent Heritage Festival plans for record turnout Saturday


Attendees of last year’s Kent Heritage Festival enjoy the attractions in the downtown area on July 4, 2015. This year’s festival will run on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cameron Gorman

This Saturday, Kent will host its largest community event of the year—the annual Heritage Festival.

This year marks the 21st year of the festival, in which vendors, entertainers and other community interest groups from Northeast Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Michigan gather in downtown Kent to display their talents and wares.

This year’s event includes three stages for entertainment on Main Street, North Water Street, and East Erie Street—an expansion for the festival which has seen an average turnout of more than 20,000 people in previous years.

“We’re up probably 20—if not close to 30—vendors from last year,” said Lori Wemhoff, festival chairperson and executive director of Kent’s Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve actually had to expand the layout of the festival.”

From 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy more than 100 food, drink and craft vendors, a children’s section with activities and games, a rock climbing wall, as well as live music and dance groups.

There will also be a classic car show on Franklin Avenue and a new model car show from the beginning of the festival until 4 p.m. on the Main Street Bridge. Fireworks will end the day, at 10 p.m.

“The weather’s supposed to be absolutely perfect, sunny and 74 (degrees), so I could not be more happy about that,” Wemhoff said.

Local performers attending the festival include band Rio Neon, the Standing Rock Blues Band and One Love Yoga and Belly Dancers.

“It brings people to Kent (and) it brings ‘Kent-ites’ downtown for the day and exposes them to all kinds of different cultures, whether it be through the art, the artifacts being sold or the music on the stages,” Wemhoff said.

Those interested can see a map of the festival and a full list of entertainment on the Chamber of Commerce website.

Cameron Gorman is a general assignment reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].