A Kent festival that has been 200 years in the making

Steve Bushong

Heritage Festival Performance Schedule, Saturday, July 1

• North Water Street Stage

The Zou: 11 to 11:45 a.m.

Gypsy Soul Belly Dancers: Noon to 12:45 p.m.

Courageous Minority: 1 to 1:45 p.m.

Chuck Keiper: 2 to 2:45 p.m.

Peggy Coyle and Brad Bolton: 3 to 3:45 p.m.

Rio Neon: 4 to 4:45 p.m.

Kent African Drum Community: 5 to 5:45 p.m.

Work In Progress: 6 to 6:45 p.m.

Vinnie Goldthwaite and Russ Hagler: 7 to 7:45 p.m.

• Erie Street Stage

American Steal: 11 to 11:45 a.m.

Tin Pony: 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.

Shameless Country: 1:45 to 2:45 p.m.

TwistOffs: 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.

Costly Court: 4:45 to 5:45 p.m.

Numbers Band: 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

• Main Stage

National Anthem and Race Awards: 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Roberts Conservatory of Dance: 10:30 to 11 a.m.

Buckeye Dance Steps: 11 to 11:30 a.m.

Welcoming Ceremony: 11:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Heart of Ohio Chorus: Noon to 12:30 p.m.

Kent State athletes, coaches, cheerleaders and more: 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.

Kent Roosevelt cheerleaders: 1:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Alex Bevan: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Hal Walker and Kent Bicentennial Children’s Chorus: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Hillbilly Idol: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.

Bob Hoefler Big Band: 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Ducks Over the Falls: 6:00 p.m.

Heritage Idol Performers: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Free Spirit Cloggers: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Charles Peachock – Juggler: 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Cats On Holiday: 9:30 to 10:00 p.m.

Fireworks: 10 to 10:30 p.m.

Cats On Holiday: 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.

&bull Additional Festival Attractions:

Historic Train Rides

5- and 10-K Race – Mile Fun Run

Kent Parks and Recreation Sports Activities

Steinert Glass Blowing Demonstrations

Famous Kent Car Strip Dealers

Napa Cruise-in Car Show

Duck’s River Race

Masonic Temple Tours

Kent Idol

Children’s Activities

Beginning with a 5-K race and ending under a fireworks display, Kent’s annual Heritage Festival will be held Saturday in downtown Kent.

Because it is the city’s bicentennial celebration, festival planners expect a larger crowd than normal this year, said Dan Smith, Kent Chamber of Commerce executive director and Heritage Festival volunteer.

This year’s festival features the first-ever “Kent Idol” performance, and the last chance to board a train in downtown Kent.

“Kent Idol,” an “American Idol” spin-off, held its preliminary competition last week. Judges picked the best three performers from each age group to perform on the festival’s main stage.

To catch the competition, on-campus students will have to find a ride or walk to the event. PARTA is not providing transportation from Kent State to the festival this year, as it has in years past.

Festival-goers may park at the Masonic Lodge, the Christ Episcopal Church or in the city-owned lot off East Main Street, Smith said.

Once at the festival, transportation will be provided via railway to Towner’s Woods and back. This year’s festival will be the last with train rides, according to the Chamber of Commerce Web site.

“In honor of Kent’s bicentennial, the railroad was good enough to let us have the train for one more day,” Smith said. The railroad is a significant part of Kent city history, he said.

Rising insurance costs will keep the train off the tracks in the future, Smith said.

The festival officially opens at 9 a.m., with activities, entertainment and food dished out all day long.

However, runners should have their shoes tied by 7:30 a.m. for the 5-K race. A 10-K dash for charity begins an hour later.

Rubber ducks competing in the Duck River Race will make a splash at 6 p.m. The first five ducks across the finish line win $500 each for their sponsors.

Other attractions include the NAPA Cruise-in Car Show, glass blowing demonstrations, sports activities and live entertainment. The band Cats on Holiday will close out the night.

“[The festival] is a great opportunity for friends, neighbors and visitors to enjoy our historic downtown,” Smith said.

The Heritage Festival, originally named Kent Fest, has been a yearly tradition since the mid-70’s. The Kent United Services Organization plans the event in year-round meetings, Smith said.

More information, including a schedule of events, can be found on the Kent Chamber of Commerce Web site at www.kentbiz.com.

Contact general assignment reporter Steve Bushong at [email protected].