Kent State starts new tradition with fireworks at homecoming kickoff


KSU homecoming kickoff featured food, music and fireworks.

Natalia Hernandez Maceira Reporter

The homecoming kickoff event featured a firework display downtown and brought excitement to the Kent State students, alumni and the Kent community on Friday. 

The Office of University Events and Protocol hosted the event  at 6 p.m. for free at the 5566 Lefton Esplanade by the John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design. Attendees received free homecoming shirts, as well as chips, cookies, water and apple cider.

The Kent State marching band performed three songs and performed music throughout downtown, while Street Beatz Mobile DJ provided entertainment at the university entrance until the firework display began. 

Homecoming kickoff was the first homecoming experience at Kent State for Justin Buchheit, a sophomore actuarial mathematics major.

“I didn’t get to experience homecoming last year as a freshman because of the pandemic, it’s exciting and almost surreal getting to meet new people in-person and not on my screen,” Buchheit said.

Drew McDowell, a sophomore animation major, said he’s now experiencing what his freshman year of college should have been. 

“It’s great to be slowly going back to normal, pre-pandemic life and enjoy seeing such a big crowd of people having fun too,” McDowell said. 

The students and community of Kent showed in numbers to support the nominees of the homecoming court being introduced, meet new people and enjoy the fireworks display.

Students and residents enjoyed the show by bringing lawn chairs and blankets to the lawn by the Esplanade while others sat on the bridge downtown for the sunset view. Everyone stayed spread apart at safe distances.

The fireworks started at 8 p.m., captivating the city of Kent by lighting up the sky with bright colors and fascinating patterns.

The homecoming celebration ended with a collection of smiles, applause and happy spirits looking forward to more celebrations in the future. 

“It was great to see a different part of campus come to life,” McDowell said. “If the fireworks weren’t my favorite part of tonight it was definitely seeing everyone being able to enjoy themselves.”

Natalia Hernandez Maceira is a health reporter. Contact her at [email protected]