By Heather Malarcik | Main Street Kent
Fall has never been so beautiful -- or exciting -- here in downtown Kent, Ohio. It's the beginning of the most festive time of year. There's more to celebrate than ever before with all the blooming businesses, organizations and people who are all a part of this amazing place we call home. Main Street Kent is happy to be a part of it, and is leading a huge collaboration to make downtown Kent into a winter wonderland this holiday season.
Imagine the main intersections draped in decorative "skylines," and giant lit snowflakes and wreaths on all of the light posts in town. We're going to "Light Up Downtown Kent" beyond recognition! This year alone, we're putting up over 13,000 lights, and next year we'll finish the project with an additional 12,000 lights.
It's the icing on the cake that this downtown deserves, with all of the growth and redevelopment we've seen over the past few years.
Main Street Kent is working closely with individuals from the following organizations to make this happen: The Burbick Foundation; Central Portage County Visitors and Convention Bureau; City of Kent; Davey Tree Expert Co.; Escott & Company; Fairmount Properties; Hometown Bank; Kent Area Chamber of Commerce; Kent Jaycees; Record Publishing Co.; Rotary Club of Kent; Williams, Welser, Kratcoski & Can.
Downtown developer Ron Burbick also has big plans for decorating in Acorn Alley and Acorn Corner, the former Old Franklin Hotel. Downtown merchants are taking part in a business window decorating contest too, so from every angle, Kent will be lit up, festive, and magically beautiful.
Mark your calendars, because we're also having a "Sweet Finds" contest on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 1 to 5 p.m., and one lucky winner will get over $500 in downtown business gift cards.
- Friday, Nov 23 -- The "Winter Wonderland" Holiday Window Lighting Contest Downtown business windows will be lit up and decorated, and merchants are excited to create the best display in town. This contest is sponsored by The Burbick Foundation and Main Street Kent, with prizes ranging from $50 to $500 for the "best dressed" windows. Judges were appointed by Main Street Kent: Mayor Jerry Fiala, Kent Fire Department Lieutenant Lynn, and Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee. The official critique will take place at 6 p.m. on Black Friday. You don't want to miss this.
- Saturday, Nov. 24 -- Small Business Saturday & "Light Up Downtown Kent!"
Head to downtown Kent and get your holiday shopping done locally on Small Business Saturday. Stop in Earl's Nest (located in Acorn Alley) to pick up your "Sweet Finds" contest card at 1 p.m. (or later). Shop the businesses listed on the contest card and find the hidden "sweet" in each business. Bring back your completed contest card by 5pm and you could win over $500 in downtown business gift cards. Winner to be drawn from all completed entries; first completed card drawn with all correct answers wins.
- Saturday, Dec. 1 -- The Annual Festival of Lights.
The annual Festival of Lights, sponsored by the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, Kent Junior Mothers, Kent Kiwanis, and Kent Parks & Recreation, takes place the first Saturday in December. Santa Claus will come to town on the train, and the street will be closed for the festivities, so be sure to come back downtown -- with your wish list in hand -- for this great event! For details, visit www.kentbiz.com.
Thank you from Main Street Kent! The amount of collaboration it takes to make these things happen is incredible. Kent is definitely unique in that respect, and many others as you probably have noticed. I can't imagine any other town has this many people who work together like we do, and Main Street Kent is happy to have so many fantastic partners in our downtown redevelopment efforts. Cheers!
Heather Malarcik is executive director of Main Street Kent.