Celebrating art

Jackie Mantey

CiderFest joins community together

Kevin Delagrange of Green juggles during his act as “Kevin the Juggling guy” at the CiderFest in downtown Kent Saturday afternoon. Beckwith Orchards served cider, and Gloria’s Koffee and Kakes and Stahl’s Bakery sold bread and treats.

Credit: Ben Breier

With hands covered in purple, white and green paint, Helena Esparza pranced around the stage displaying her finger art to everyone.

“I mixed all the colors and made something pretty,” said the 4-year-old about her painted pumpkin as she wiped paint on her eyebrow.

Helena and hundreds of other Kent community members enjoyed the festive atmosphere of the red and yellow leaves on the trees Saturday afternoon as they celebrated the second annual CiderFest in the Home Savings Plaza.

Downtown Innovative Community Events sponsored the event in an attempt to bring more art events to Kent.

“It’s nice to bring the community together,” said Jeff Ingram, executive director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, which is a part of the North Water Street Gallery.

The SRCA formed DICE to spark more interest in the arts and build a bridge between the university and the other community members, Ingram said.

CiderFest is one of DICE’s largest productions. With cider and candy apples from Beckwith Orchards and foods from other local businesses, it starts out small.

“We have small family businesses with homemade goods,” Ingram said. “It’s really like a grassroots movement.”

Along with the food tables, residents of Kent watched performances by a magician, a bag pipe player and ballet dancers and got artistic with pumpkin painting.

Bonny Esparza, Helena’s mother and a baker for Gloria’s Koffee and Kakes, said not only was CiderFest a great chance to let her daughter have some fun but also to get together with the rest of the community.

“It’s great to celebrate downtown,” she said. “There’s a lot down here people don’t know about.”

Sophomore photo-illustration major Emily Roetzel agreed and said Gloria’s Koffee and Kakes was a good example of one of Kent’s downtown secrets.

“The prices are incredible, and the food is so good,” she said.

Several of the local businesses that sold food at CiderFest are members of DICE.

Decked out in a pink T-shirt with a picture of a black squirrel with its head bitten off and the word ‘Tasty,’ Cary James of Stahl’s Bakery sold her famous black squirrel cookies.

James said she is a member of DICE not only for the business aspect, but for personal reasons as well.

“It’s such a neat group, and it’s nice to do something to make the community more aware,” she said.

Standing Rock Cultural Arts puts on several events such as CiderFest throughout the year, and Ingram said he looks forward to next year’s celebration of the fall weather.

“It’s getting better each year,” he said.

Contact College of Architecture and Environmental Design and School of Art reporter Jackie Mantey at [email protected].



Standing Rock Cultural Arts is named after the standing rock in the Cuyahoga River that was a council place for Indian tribes before white men settled the area around the late 1700s. Upcoming events include:

ƒ-S Dec. 3: 8th Annual Pie Festival/Silent Art Auction and Jewelry Show, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the North Water Street Gallery.

ƒ-S Dec. 9: Open Poetry with Maj Ragain at 8 p.m. at the North Water Street Gallery.

ƒ-S Dec. 31: Deadline for Submissions to Standing Rock International ShortFilm and Video Festival. Visit www.standingrock.net for an application.

ƒ-S Feb. 11, 2006: “Make Mine Ice.” Watch Kent State students compete against University of Akron students in an ice carving competition.