‘The best unofficial Halloween party’

Kristin Lindsey

All Hallow’s Eve isn’t until Monday, but Saturday night is Halloween for the city of Kent.

Dan Smith, executive director of the Kent Chamber of Commerce, said Halloween is one of the city’s biggest events – second only to the Heritage Festival and far greater than Homecoming weekend. Smith said he believes if Kent’s Halloween lasted more than one night, it could surpass the Heritage Festival as the community’s greatest event. He also said for many downtown businesses it’s their busiest night of the year.

Mike Beder, who owns Water Street Tavern, formerly known as Glory Days, said Halloween is the bar’s busiest night. Beder said the bar does more business as a whole on St. Patrick’s Day, but only because it opens early in the morning.

Despite recent disagreements between some Kent State students and other Kent residents, Smith is looking forward to Halloween weekend.

“The chamber views (Halloween) as a really positive opportunity for the townspeople and students to come together,” Smith said. “It’s the best unofficial Halloween party and has a tremendous impact on our businesses.”

“Tables will probably start filling up at around 5 p.m.,” Fazio said.

Franklin Avenue will close as the night progresses, and some bars will hold contests or allow employees to dress up.

“We will have a DJ all night and be giving away shirts and prizes,” Fazio said. “Students will be able to win things like tanning and spa packages.”

For safety and convenience, students are encouraged to walk from the campus area rather than drive.

“Once it gets dark, you might wait a half hour just to drive through downtown,” said Patty Restaine, manager of Zephyr Pub.

Students can enjoy an extra hour of fun due to daylight savings time.

Bars will turn their clocks back to 1 a.m. at 2 a.m., and will continue to be open for business.

Students and townspeople work together to make this night not only a great time but safe as well.

“It’s a crazy, hectic night, but it’s also very safe,” Fazio said. “All establishments do a great job of keeping order, and law enforcement does a great job of keeping the crowd under control.”

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Marissa Mikolak at [email protected].