Heritage Fest attracts crowd despite heat


Zoie Duncan, 2, of Kent, enjoys fireworks at the Kent Heritage Festival with her family on Saturday, July 7. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Cassie Neiden

Crowds poured over the 17th annual Kent Heritage Festival despite the high temperatures and humidity Saturday.

Over 100 craft, information and children’s booths and more than 25 food booths were set up in Kent’s downtown area covering Franklin Avenue, Water Street and Main Street.

Craft booths included everything from dog bandanas and tie-dyed shirts to honey products and toys.

The food ranged from deep-fried candy bars to popcorn, pizza and gyros.

There were also three stages set up on different ends of the festival, one on South Water Street, one on North Water Street and one on West Main in front of the bridge. A total of 30 entertainment acts performed on the stages.

“I think it’s a great turnout with the heat, too … We were nonstop this morning since 9 a.m.,” said Lori Wemhoff, executive director of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.

Attendees and participants all found different ways to stay cool in the near-100-degree temperatures.

Brynnlynn Klinginsmith, who worked a Lynn’s Concessions booth on North Water Street, said she had been “drinking a lot of water and keeping cool with fans.”

Pam Hutchins, coordinator of the children’s program at the Kent State Child Development Center, was working at a cotton candy booth to raise money for the center. She was wearing a cool towel around her neck and said she had been rubbing ice between her hands to help keep cool.

Eight-year-old Eliot Adams said he cooled off by eating snow cones.

Matt and Nicole Kline of the Kline Honey Bee Farm moved their tent from the top of hill where East Main Street and Depeyster Street intersect to a space across from the Ohio Music Shop. Nicole Kline said they made the move because she and her husband noticed that people didn’t want to walk very far up the hill because of the heat.

Though temperatures were hot, “surprisingly, there’s been a very nice breeze all day,” Nicole Kline said.

The heat didn’t even stop comedy juggler Mark Angelo from performing his act on the Main Street stage with flaming batons.

Aaron Lance, who completed the AMETEK Tree City 5K for the Portage County United Way earlier in the evening, said he enjoyed the two water stations along the course and the garden hose that sprayed runners at the end of the 5K.

Temperatures finally cooled to the low- to mid-80s when people began gathering on the bridge on West Main Street for the fireworks show.

Contact Cassie Neiden at [email protected].