Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kent's a Gem, Here are a Few Facets

Originally published in the Kent Patch, on May 10th, 2012.

Recently, we commemorated the 42nd anniversary of possibly the most talked about event in Kent history, and the day for which Kent is rightly or wrongly known by most people outside Kent. While times are changing, and fewer individuals make the immediate connection with our town, it's nice sometimes to remember the many facets that make Kent great, and summer especially brings out a huge variety of ways to celebrate this city.
One event that is about not just Kent, but the whole Cuyahoga River watershed is coming up fast and strong.  In a little over one week, we'll celebrate the annual River Day, and this year it will take place at Plum Creek Park.  The Crooked River plays an immense role in shaping most of Northeast Ohio, and Kent is no different.  We're split by the river, our history was shaped by the river, as was our commerce, and this is a great time to celebrate that river, and its tributaries.  Plum Creek Park, if you haven't been there lately, has been recently restored and is far from the stagnant pond it was when my family moved here.  Now, the park is home to ball parks, great playscapes, an ampitheater, shelter houses, and a trail along the river, as well as a fully functional, free-flowing Plum Creek.  For River Day itself, there will also be hands-on activities, crafts, a Native American teepee and fiber loom, area retail and organizational displays, a dedication of Plum Creek Park, water testing demonstrations, and much more.  Other activities will be going on along the length of the Crooked River, with information on all of them found on the site linked above.
Besides the river, our parks in Kent are another point of pride, and one that I'm proud to see Kent Parks and Recreation and Kent Environmental Council as well as other groups helping to protect and promote.  From the Kent Bog, to Plum Creek Park, to Franklin Mills, to Brady's Leap, you can explore both history and the environment through the various parks around town.  If you just want a chance to relax, pack a picnic, hit The Portage Hike and Bike Trail, or go play on one of the many playgrounds (swings are great fun for adults, too!).  Maybe even be a dare-devil and try canoeing or kayaking at Crooked River Adventures.  If history is more your interest area, check out the Kent Historical Society's museum.  Or just stroll downtown and see the building going on and the improvements made by Main Street Kent, the city, and others. If it's Saturday morning, check out the Haymaker Farmers' Market and meet the amazing local people bringing food to local tables.
For special events and entertainment, see what's going on at the Kent Stage, Thursday Night Live! in Home Savings Plaza, or through D.I.C.E. And of course, there's the university, with its fashion museum among other things.
My point behind this whole rambling post is to remind everyone of all the wonderful things to enjoy right here in Kent.  It's going to be summer soon, and that's the perfect time for vacations, but why spend the money going elsewhere when we have so much to do right here?  The fun starts next weekend, and can last all year if you look.  I hope to see you out and about!

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