Students experience festival in different ways

A gray sky loomed over Manchester Field threatening rain Friday, but that didn’t damper the spirit of students in attendance at the Black Squirrel Festival.

The Black Squirrel Festival is one of Kent’s traditions each fall, sponsored by Kent Student Center Programming. This is the festival’s 29th year offering live entertainment, giveaways, food and various activities.

As told by Courtney Foluy and Rachel DiPaola

Foluy, freshman exploratory major, left the M.A.C.C annex when she saw the festivities.

“It’s cool because you get to see a bunch of stuff that’s downtown,” she said. “Also it’s a good idea for organizations to get their names out there.”

Foluy purchased a poster for her sister of the famous World War II soldier and nurse kissing, but loved the other displays as well.

“I like the bracelet stands with the tie-dye and everything because that catches your eye,” she said.

For DiPaola, sophomore early childhood education major, this was also her first Black Squirrel Festival. She stopped on her way to class at the Music and Speech Center.

“I like it. It’s totally fun,” she said. “It’s kind of different.”

Neither girl has yet had any freak encounters with the black squirrels, but Foluy has seen an odd sight.

“I did see someone feeding them pizza. That was not a good idea because then they wanted more,” she said.

Even though there wasn’t a black squirrel in sight, DiPaola said she thought they were watching.

“I think they’re probably watching just to see what’s going on. They probably don’t get it,” she said.

As told by Melissa Reusch

Reusch was one of many students who attended the Black Squirrel Festival on Friday. Reusch is a freshman at Kent State University. She was amazed by all of the student organizations represented at the street festival.

“I really liked Pride!’s stand,” said Reusch, “I think some students may not be aware of the gay community at Kent, so I was glad that they were at the festival. They also gave me a coupon to the Skullz Hair Salon in downtown Kent along with a free polka-dot condom.”

Additionally, Reusch said she enjoyed the music played at the festival. She liked that it was diverse.

“When I came to the festival in the morning, there was a jazz ensemble playing,” Reusch said, “and when I came back later in the afternoon, some rock group was performing. They were all good.”

Reusch is a fan of the black squirrels on campus. She said she loves to make squirrel jokes with friends on campus. So far, she has not had a problem with the rodents. Reusch compared the black squirrels to swift, little black ninjas.

“Honestly,” she said, “they pop up everywhere on campus. I had never seen a black squirrel before coming to Kent State.”

As told by Molly Rutledge

Rutledge, sophomore art education major, was one of hundreds of students admiring the many sights and sounds that the festival had to offer.

“I went to get food and noticed all the people,” Rutledge said. “I thought, ‘This must be Black Squirrel Fest,’” she said.

Rutledge walked over from the food court to participate in the activities and check out the vendors. Her favorite booth was Evelyn Dickerson Hair Design because they had on display Big Sexy Hair Care Products.

“I was real interested in the hair stuff,” Rutledge said, “because I have really crazy curly hair and it’s hard to find my product for my hair.”

Carley Kruse, owner of Evelyn Dickerson Hair Design, has been vending at the festival for five so six years to promote the salon’s products and services.

“We are giving away gift certificates to get people to stop at the table,” Kruse said. “Usually we get a good turn out. It’s always fun to be at the university for the festival.”

Rutledge was also drawn to tables from Scentsy Wickless Candles, Tropical Trends, Mary Kay and Buckle.

At one point, Rutledge spoke with Chiara Bunch, senior recruiting specialist for FedEx Ground, who was trying to recruit students for part-time jobs.

Once she had dabbled in everything that interested her, Rutledge was ready to go.

“I was just going to take a nap in my dorm room,” she said. “But hey, this was more fun instead.”