Leave it to the black squirrels for a huge success

Olivi Mihalic

Senior advertising major Kevin Kormarek does pull-ups during the Black Squirrel Festival in Risman Plaza on Friday as part of a Marine booth that was set up for new recruits.

Credit: Steve Schirra

On stage, a painter sways to the beat. Yellows and reds appear on a canvas as rock music pulsates from the band sharing the stage.

Godot, one of several bands that performed at Friday’s Black Squirrel Festival, merged music and painting for the thousands that came to the festival.

“Whenever you bring two arts together, it makes the show better,” senior theater major Mary Elizabeth Bice said of Godot’s performance.

Everyone from adults to students to a wiener dog passed through the festival held in Risman Plaza. Artists, musicians and vendors attracted thousands of people all day long.

“It’s a lot better than it was last year,” junior education major Kristen Binggeli said. “Last year was kind of boring.”

Representatives of businesses all over Cleveland, Akron and Kent brought freebies and merchandise for students to browse. Some vendors said they have been coming to the Black Squirrel Festival for 10 years.

“It’s awesome,” said Stacy Stewart, student manager for the Kent Student Center Programing, which sponsored the event. “This is our biggest one we’ve ever had. There are tons of vendors.”

Large groups gathered to look at fashion jewelry, T-shirts, posters, beaded purses and of course, black squirrel stuffed animals.

Hands stretched out across Risman Plaza to give people coupons, special offers and information about their businesses.

One of the most popular booths was Chipotle, which was handing out miniature burrito stress balls and coupons for free burritos.

“I got four coupons for free burritos,” said Korey Papa, sophomore flight technology major. “That’s like $20!”

Another booth that drew of attention was the army recruitment booth.

Students lined up with signs to protest the war, despite the Student Center asking them to move. They held signs reading “money for college not combat” and “join the military, replacements needed.”

“Since the military recruiters are here, we also want to be so both sides are here,” said freshman exploratory major Katie Troha, who was protesting.

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Olivia Mihalic at [email protected].