Heritage Festival: a time to celebrate Kent

Brindi Bays

TnT Freestyle Motocross will join Kent Idol as the main attractions of the 2007 Kent Heritage Festival.

The festival is Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight in downtown Kent.

“The Motocross is sure to bring crowds of people into the downtown area,” said Dan Smith, an event organizer and executive director of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event, presented by Ray’s Place, will host top freestyle Motocross riders Tommy “Tom Cat” Clowers and Jeff “Full Tilt” Tilton. The riders will be jumping 35 feet into the air over an 80-foot gap on two Red Bull freestyle ramps. The event is free and will be located on Franklin Avenue.

This is the first year for Motocross, and if the turnout is good, it could become an annual event, said Charlie Thomas, owner of Ray’s Place.

“It is an event a lot of Kent State students will enjoy,” Smith said. “It’s something new folks might have never seen before.”

Kent Idol will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the main stage.

Performers will be divided into five age groups: elementary, middle school, high school, young adult and adult.

Last week, the judges – part of the educational staff at Woodsy’s – picked three finalists from each division to perform during the festival. Each person had criteria to meet and the scores were based off a percentage, said Woodsy’s owner Paul Braden.

“The contestants had to have some ties with Kent,” he said. “This is a Kent community Heritage Festival. We try to keep it all Kent-centered.”

There are no prizes or recognition for the winners of the talent search. They are, however, invited to perform at Woodsy’s open mic nights throughout the year.

“It’s fun to hear everyone audition,” Braden said. “There’s a lot of talent in this community.”

Besides talent searches and air-stunts, the festival includes a variety of attractions, Smith said.

Among these attractions will be three stages set up around downtown to provide the community with a good time. Thirty vendors will provide food.

A 5K and 10K race will start in the morning. Participants can visit the Web site to register or can register before the event.

The festival will host a classic car cruise-in as well as the Kent Strip dealers car show. The Kent Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a historic train ride which is available throughout the day.

Last year was to be the last year for trains because of rising insurance costs, but Smith said the city and the train company worked out liability and logistics issues for another year.

There will also be a fireworks display to bring the festival to a close late Saturday night.

Magician Eric Brouman, a crowd favorite, is also included in Saturday’s lineup.

“The festival brings people downtown,” Thomas said. “We’re all about having a good time.”

To find out more about the festival’s events visit www.kentbiz.com.

Contact entertainment reporter Brindi Bays at [email protected].