Kent celebrates heritage with annual festival

Allyson Eighmey

Races, rides highlight day

The 14th annual Kent Heritage Festival celebration will kick off Saturday downtown. The all-day festival will run from 9 a.m. to midnight and end with a fireworks display beginning at 10 p.m.

Bill Hoover, executive director of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, said this year’s lineup of events features a variety of fun activities.

“The fireworks are of course popular, but also the 120 food, craft and information vendors and booths, all-day entertainment on three stages, train rides and the opportunity to see friends and neighbors at the festival,” he said.

Hoover said the layout of this year’s festival will be different than in the past. Food vendors will be set up along North Water Street, and the craft and information booths will line East Main, South Water and West Erie streets. Each street will be blocked off for the celebration, Hoover said.

The day will begin with five and 10-kilometer races in the morning, as well as a one-mile fun run for those 17 years old and younger. Non-runners are welcome to register for a one-mile walk. The races will support the United Way of Portage County. Registration and check-in for the races begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Kent Masonic Temple, on the corner of Mantua and Main streets.

The annual celebration, organized by Kent’s United Services Organization, will also feature “Kent Idol,” a vocal talent search sponsored by Woodsy’s Music. Performers will be divided into four age groups ranging from elementary to adult. Preliminary sessions for the competition began in early June. Three singers from each age group will be invited to sing on stage at the festival.

Other events include the annual Ducks Over the Falls River Race, a classic car cruise-in and Kent Historic Train Rides on the former Erie Railroad. Train tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.

Hoover said the total attendance throughout the day is estimated to be 25,000.

For more information about the festival, call the Kent Chamber of Commerce at 330-673-9855.

Contact performing arts reporter Allyson Eighmey at [email protected]

Schedule of Events

Main Stage

10 a.m. Robert’s Conservatory of Dance

10:30 a.m. Buckeye Dance Steps

11 a.m. Welcome and National Anthem

11:30 a.m. Max and Friends

12:15 p.m. Hal Walker

1:15 p.m. Zumba aerobics

2:15 p.m. Hillbilly Idol

3:30 p.m. Brad Bolton and Peggy Coyle

4:30 p.m. Bob Hoefler Big Band

5:45 p.m. Free Spirit Cloggers

6:45 p.m. Magician Michael Mirth

7:45 p.m. Rio Neon

8:30 p.m. Roosevelt Cheerleaders

8:45 p.m. Ashley Brooke Toussant

9:30 p.m. Dingtown

10 p.m. Fireworks

Erie Street Stage

11 a.m. Bluetones

12:15 p.m. Professor Greenhosue

1:30 p.m. John Jakes Mose

2:45 p.m. Simeon Soul Charger

4 p.m. Tropodelics

5:15 p.m. The Number’s Band

6:30 p.m. The Twist-Offs

7:45 p.m. The Stingers

North Water Stage

11 a.m. Water Band

Noon Topher Starzyk & Jen Mauer

1 p.m. Gypsy Soul Belly Dancers

2 p.m. The Speedbumps

3 p.m. Annabel

4 p.m. Case Sensitive

5 p.m. Beta Rhythm & Proud Arctic

6 p.m. Broken Heart Brigade

7 p.m. Drop to Zero

8 p.m. Attica