40th annual Black Squirrel Festival brings campus back to life


The first 800 students to come to the Black Squirrel Festival received free t-shirts from the Flash Activities Board

Grace Clarke, Reporter

A festival dedicated to Kent’s favorite rodent, the black squirrel, ran this past Friday filling up the campus with lively events on the Student Green and Risman Plaza from 3-7 p.m.

The Flash Activities Board coordinated the 40th annual Black Squirrel Festival, showering the campus with food trucks, local vendors, giveaways, music, henna tattoos and caricature art, ending the night with a feature film, “Jurassic World Dominion.”

The Black Squirrel Festival has been a beloved tradition since 1982, encouraging students to leave their dorms and embrace Kent State. Friday’s events included the announcement of the 2022 Homecoming Court, along with 160 student organizations registered for the event to set up tables throughout Risman Plaza, according to Joe Robinson, student activities coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement.

The event did not only cater to students though, as parent’s weekend was being held at the same time, giving parents and guardians the opportunity to learn more about what the university has to offer for their children.

Student Organizations like SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, made their presence known at the festival with not only a table set up, but they lowered a banner on top of the Kent Student Center saying “SDS DEMANDS ABORTION RIGHTS.” The festival showcased how students have the chance to voice their opinions.

Flash Activities Board gave out 800 free Black Squirrel Festival t-shirts, as well as free cups for students stopping by. The event also hosted 10 local vendors including Tahini Mediterranean Cuisine, Daisy Pops, Southern Comfort Kitchen, Joe’s Barbecue and more.

Scott Hall from Capture This! Entertainment drawing caricature art for students.
Hall has been drawing caricature art for over 30 years.

A popular vendor was Capture This! Entertainment, with a long line of students waiting to get their portrait drawn. “I love caricature art and I’m excited to get my own, especially since it’s free which is always a bonus,” Chloe Geither, a junior psychology major, said while waiting in the long line.

“This is a great event that I am able to be a part of. Just seeing all the students come together and have a good time makes me feel like a part of the community. It’s poppin’,” junior and member of the Ohio Workers First Campaign Will Mihalow said. Mihalow was walking around Risman Plaza encouraging students to register to vote.

The Black Squirrel Festival got students excited for what’s to come Homecoming weekend, starting October 1.


Grace Clarke is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].