Heritage Festival returns to downtown Kent for its 27th year

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Vivien Starcher

Attendees visit vendor booths and tables set up along Main Street.

Vivien Starcher, Reporter

The annual Heritage Festival made its way to the streets of downtown Kent on Saturday, July 2.

At 10 a.m., classic cars lined up along N. Water Street with sounds of the ’70s playing in the background as a part of the festival’s Classic Car Show. With a little over 50 cars, the street was a sight for car fanatics, featuring cars ranging from seven to more than 80 years old. 

“This is my first Heritage Fest in a very long time, but after putting about $13,000 into detailing my truck, I figured I’d bring her out for the car show,” said attendee and car show participant Sheldon Fair of Garfield Heights. 

“I lived in Kent back in the ’80s, but I don’t think the festival was around back then,” Fair said as he showed off his Maroon 2015 Chevy Silverado parked in front of Hometown Bank. “It’s great. I’ve enjoyed it so far.” 

Cars lined up along N. Water Street for the Classic Car Show. (Vivien Starcher)

Vendors, which included local and regional businesses, organizations and nonprofits, set up tables and tents on the Main Street strip.

Kent Junior Mothers, a local nonprofit, set up a carnival booth with games and prizes to give away. Whitney Marty, who is an active member of the group, said the group has been a part of the community for about 75 years.

“We really just meet up formally at a lunch spot to plan once a month, and we volunteer at events,” Marty said. “We just really want to help the community in any way possible.” 

Gretchen Hill, who worked alongside Marty at the booth, said the group focuses on community involvement.

“We put together safety town and coordinate for service events,” Hill said. “We even collaborate with Mainstreet Kent and participate in as many events as possible; we want to create a great community for the kids.” 

In addition to the pop-up vendors and tents lining Main Street, the smells of local food trucks, cotton candy, kettle corn and more filled the air. 

One food vendor in attendance was Daisy Pops, a Kent-based cake pop business whose booth was decorated in pink and pastels.

Dawn Peters, who represented Daisy Pops at the booth, said that this was the business’ first Heritage Fest.

“We want to get out and know the community, and what better way than to do a popup at a festival?” Peters said. “The turnout has been great so far, and we love the Kent community. Who knows? Maybe we will even stay here.” 

Daisy Pops’ pastel-colored table, features their selection of cake pop flavors. (Vivien Starcher)

Fire trucks were parked on the Main Street bridge, where firefighters of Kent and Franklin Township talked with members of the community.

“I’ve been a firefighter for Kent for about 20 years now,” said Bryan Pengle of the Kent Fire Department. “Heritage Fest is always a wonderful time for all of us that get to participate. Our chief loves getting to talk with the community and develop a better relationship with the community, and it’s giving us kind of a break. We’re off duty and get one-on-one time with the people we serve in the Kent community. We love it.”

Along with vendors and businesses, live music could be heard throughout downtown Kent, including a rooftop performance by Hard Day’s Night, a Beatles tribute band. The band performed atop the Kent Stage.

“I’m so happy,” said attendee Doug Brown. “Summer in Kent feels normal again, and I couldn’t ask for anything better right now.”

Vivien Starcher is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]