Kent Heritage Festival celebrates July 4

Dawn Einsel

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While some people were just discovering

the event this year, others

had made it a tradition. Freshman

anthropology major Tami Ehrman

had been coming to the festival since

she was a child. Though she said she

enjoys the car show and free live

music, Ehrman admitted she has

a favorite activity that brings her

downtown each year.

“I’m partial to the fireworks at

the end of the night,” she said. “It’s

always a different show.”

Residents aren’t the only ones

who make the festival a regular part

of their summer. Gypsy Soul, a bellydancing

group, has been taking to

the downtown stages for 10 years.

“We love performing here,”

said Gypsy Soul co-creator Melanie

Miller of Norton. “It’s always

a good crowd.”

The festivities have drawn more

than 20,000 guests from the city,

campus and surrounding areas in

the past, and continue to bring new

people each year.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Kent culture,” said Nischelle

Shuck, a new resident and firsttime

attendee. “It’s a great way to

support the community.”

Jamie Sopko, a photographer

who grew up in the area, may have

attended the festival before, but

chose this year to debut her line of

photos that she described as classic

iconography of Kent.

“It seemed like a good place to

go back to my roots,” said Sopko, who sold prints and postcards featuring

well-known Kent landmarks.

Three stages showcased performances

by local artists throughout

the day, while more than 140 vendors

lined Main Street, North Water Street, and West College Avenue.

The festival also had a kids play

area to entertain the younger generation

of festival attendees.

The night came to a bright and

colorful conclusion as patrons of the

festival sat on the bridge to watch

the Jeff Graham Memorial Fireworks

show over the river.

Contact entertainment reporter Dawn Einsel at [email protected].