Kent Heritage Festival supports community at its 28th annual event


Annalexis Davis

Tents line the streets of Downtown Kent at the annual Heritage Fest July 1, 2023.

Annalexis Davis, Reporter

Hundreds of Kent locals kicked off Saturday in Downtown Kent at the 28th annual Kent Heritage Festival, which consists of local businesses, local food vendors, a kids’ area, live music and a duck race.

The Kent Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the festival annually. This event consists of local businesses in tents with handcrafted items, promoting governmental organizations, nonprofits and food trucks to line up and down the streets of Downtown Kent. 

The event lasted from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The festival consists of organizations such as the Kent Health Department, the City of Kent, the Army, local artisans, local food venues such as Daisy Pops and many more businesses.

“This is a great event. It’s often been one of our biggest. It’s the Kent Heritage Festival and it happens on the 4th of July weekend every year,” said Lieutenant Michael Lewis from Kent City Police. “When COVID happened, it canceled the festival for a couple of years, but it’s been making a tremendous comeback over these last few years.

“We’re starting to see more booths come back. We’re starting to see the food vendors come back. It’s early yet, it’s only a little bit after one, but we’ve got a great crowd so far. I’ve spoken with a lot of people who are having a great time. It just seems like the good old days, and I am glad to see it back,” he said. 

Sergeant Joey Aguado, 1st class, was running the Army tent at the festival and was handing out free lanyards to locals passing.

“We’re out here just to show support for the community and raise some awareness and then allow everybody to see some of the stuff we do and get their hands on one of our military vehicles,” Aguado said. “It’s a lot of fun so far, a lot of different ages and different people, a surprising a lot of veterans in this community are coming up like, ‘Hey, I used to do this,’ so it’s been a lot of fun so far.”

Bill Sykes next to his 1946 Ford Super Deluxe at the Heritage Fest classic car show. (Annalexis Davis)

The classic car show was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where many car enthusiasts gathered on the streets to look at vintage cars.

“I have lived in Kent since my college days and have been coming to the car show for probably about 20-25 years,” said Bill Sykes, a resident.

Live music was held at the Hometown Bank Plaza and Dan Smith Community Park with local bands.

“This is my first time at this festival. I just came to see what it was about. It’s a nice festival, and I can’t wait to see,” said Tony Bogan, a resident. “You can’t go wrong with music and food trucks.”

The weather led some vendors to pack up early. Others waited for the rain to clear up from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m..

A rubber duck race occurred at 6 p.m. in the pouring rain. The Kent Fire Department took part in dropping the ducks into the river, where many locals cheered.

Designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) wristbands were available for locals to grab alcoholic beverages from bars to walk around outdoors within the DORA boundaries.

The festival’s finale was marked with fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July.

Annalexis Davis is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].