The 17th-annual Kent Heritage Festival is from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 7, in downtown Kent.
With everything from fireworks to a classic car show the free event is designed to appeal to a wide age range. More than 120 vendors will offer fair-style foods, crafts and information.
Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala said the city will likely block access to all the construction sites downtown during the festival.
"Unfortunately we have the construction going on and we want people to be safe," he said. "We're going to be cautious about that. Heritage Fest is such a good time for everybody we don't want people to get hurt down there. But we'll be watching it."
Three stages will feature live music throughout the event.
The stages are located at the northern end of North Water Street, near the intersection of Main and Water streets and on South Water Street.
Lori Wemhoff, executive director of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival, said the one change to the entertainment this year is the third stage on South Water Street, usually set up near Erie Street, has been moved further south.
"In the past, there’s been a stage on Erie Street, which is not really a street now," Wemhoff said.
That stage is being moved towards S.R. 59 further down on South Water Street by College Avenue in light of tying up Erie Street.
NO TRAIN RIDES
It seems the past few years organizers of the Kent Heritage Festival have gone back and forth on whether or not the pleasure train rides will return, but this year the rides are gone — and it looks like for good.
Due to liability reasons, the Akron Barberton Cluster/Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad has discontinued the trips on its tracks.
But Wemhoff said there's a positive trade-off. The classic car show, which was not held at the festival last year, will return for 2012.
The car show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on West College Avenue in front of the Car Parts Warehouse. It will not be a judged show but instead will feature more of a class car cruise-in atmosphere with prizes and giveaways.
Wemhoff said both the chamber and the city got a lot of calls last year about the car show's absence.
"We’re expecting at least 100," she said. "I’m excited to have it back. It was obviously missed last year."
FIREWORKS BACK ON
The annual earlier this week after the Ohio Fire Marshal's Office issued an extreme fire warning regarding the dry conditions around the state.
But a fair amount of rain this past week was enough to allay the concerns of Kent Fire Chief James Williams, who announced Friday morning that as scheduled.
The fireworks are expected to start around 10 p.m.
The annual will start at Dix Stadium and wind its way through the Kent State campus before ending at Willow Street about a block from the festival downtown.
Following , participants are invited to an after-party at . Runners who are 21 or older will receive a free beer, and bar proceeds from the evening go to the United Way.
With all the construction in downtown Kent parking spaces are tough to come by, and with the festival closing streets finding a space will be even tougher on July 7.
Wemhoff said they're encouraging people to park at two places: in front of Davey Drill near the intersection of Mogadore Road and Summit Street, and in the parking lot on the Kent State campus.
Wemhoff said will provide a shuttle bus during the festival for people who park at Rockwell Hall.