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First-year Springfest hailed as success

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KENT – Sunny skies, strolling families, shops stocked with deals all made for a spectacular Springfest event May 4, hosted by the Kent Chamber of Commerce.

It was the first year for the event, which in some ways was a merger of the summer Sidewalk Sale Days and the now defunct Champagne Stroll.

Springfest participants gather May 4 at various participating locations at the Kent Barns, including 109 Cheese Market. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Many families could be seen early in the afternoon walking Main Street and visiting the non-profits in the Golden Falcon Field. Groups had several activities for children, such as the Kent Garden Club, which had coloring pages of plants and flowers to color, the Merryall Center had a wheel to spin that directed which prize could be won, and Resident Trooper Vicky Donohoe was giving away small first aid kits with Band-Aids. TradesUp was guiding children through using hand tools to saw wood and hammer nails.

Families were out enjoying the Springfest activities and sales in stores May 4 during the event sponsored by Kent Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

The chamber decided to offer a Sip and Stroll for the last three hours of the afternoon and 28 shops and organizations participated in this portion.

Coordinators and chamber officers Gary Kidd and Ellen Corsell were pleased by the turnout. Kidd, who runs 45 on Main Coffee & Creamery, said he couldn’t believe how many people were out walking around and enjoying themselves.

“I had to close part of the parking lot because so many people were dancing,” he said of the response to bagpiper Jesse Ofgang.

The weather couldn’t have been better, was a refrain heard repeatedly that afternoon. Sunshine, a light breeze and a few clouds made for a very pleasant spring day to walk around the 40 different locations that were participating.

Espresso Martinis were served up at 45 on Main at Springfest against a backdrop of music performed by bagpiper Jesse Ofgang. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Friends Rebecca da Silva, Charlene Chillious and Heather Scofield enjoyed sampling the variety of foods offered at different locations, especially while they visited the art in several galleries in the Kent Barns area.

“This has been fun,” said Scofield as she perused Lynette’s Precocious Preserves booth on Main Street. Da Silva enjoyed sampling the huge chocolate-covered strawberries offered for sale.

Friends Heather Scofield and Charlene Chillious check out the preserves and chocolate-covered strawberries offered at Lynette’s Precocious Preserves booth. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

There were a wide variety of beverages offered by the many businesses and organizations. There were plenty of options of wine, champagne and prosecco, but there were also a number of cocktails. 45 on Main had expresso martinis that blended Kahlua with Sacred Grounds Coffee among other libations. Lynette Hatfield even shared her recipe for “sparking strawberry rose’sangria” that began with two pounds of ripe strawberries, to which she added her own preserves, lemons, oranges, rose wine and lemonade.

Connie Manes at the Kent Land Trust booth in front of Kent Wine and Spirit on Bridge Street came up with her own mocktail recipe for “Violet Femme” that included an infusion of violets (soaked in water) along with lemon juice and a few other ingredients.

Drinks at the Sip ‘n Stroll portion of Springfest came in all colors, including the mocktail ‘Violet Femme’ created and served by the Kent Land Trust, which was an infusion of violets matched with lemon juice. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

“We wanted to do something fresh and local,” Manes said. They were also distributing materials about invasive plants, complete with photographs and charts of when is the best time to remove them. She and Melissa Cherniske engaged visitors in conversation about how to tackle invasives over time, sometimes as much as three years.

Artist Alibaba Awrang, center, speaks with guests at the opening of his exhibit, ‘Through the Smoke and Ashes’ at Good Gallery during Springfest May 4. Potter Matin Malikzada also has work exhibited. The show continues through June 1. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

“We were very pleased,” said Lyn Stirnweiss, administrative director for the chamber. “The weather was great.”

There were a total of 172 tickets sold for the event (94 online and 78 on Saturday), which means the chamber raised $3,440 from the event.

She said that $5 from each ticket sold would be donated to the Kent Food Bank and that $1,170 is being donated. Of that total, $310 was from separate donations that were made online towards those dealing with food insecurity.

Resident Trooper Vicky Donohoe, right, had a table at Springfest May 4 along with the Emergency Management team of Brian Hunt and Michael Donaghey, and lots of information and supplies were handed out to people. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington
Lynn Worthington
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