Downtown Kent has hearts lining the streets and filling window fronts for National Heart Month.
Main Street Kent was inspired by the American Heart Association’s National Heart Month to create an event called “Kent Goes Red.”
The event was designed for the community to “get out and enjoy specials and activities geared towards emotional and physical well-being in downtown Kent,” wrote Heather Malarcik, Main Street Kent’s executive director, in a press release January.
Over 20 businesses are participating in this event. Every business has their own themed decorations and a special running for the rest of the month, according to the press release sent out by Main Street Kent.
“This is really a slow time for businesses, regardless of a pandemic,” Malarcik said. “Things are pretty tough right now, and a lot of them are really hanging on. They’re really happy to be a part of it.”
Some of the businesses that are participating are Belleria Pizza, North Water Brewing Co., Popped!, Red Letter Days, Squirrel City Jewelers and Troppus Projects.
The activities being offered range from limited-time exhibitions of art, jewelry sales, take home crafts for kids and specials on healthy foods at restaurants.
Every business has a heart on display with a message or activity regarding heart health. After visiting seven or more businesses, participants can fill out an online form on the Main Street Kent website for a chance to win gift cards or prizes.
One decoration features small hearts with the words “My Hope” scattered around the businesses, mainly by the gazebo on Franklin Avenue.
Kent locals, business owners and Kent State students have been filling out the hope hearts to help uplift the town, Malarcik said. They can write down things they are hopeful for now that help keep them going or things they are hoping for in the future.
“The city made all those big red hearts that are tied to trees all over town,” Malarcik said. “We thought it would be fun to decorate and make things brighter and cheerier and give some people more outdoor activities to help motivate them to get out of the house and explore some of some of the fun things downtown.”
One business involved is Squirrel City Jewelers, owned by Michael Faehnel.
“The decorations and theme make downtown uplifting to see, especially after all the Christmas lights get taken down and you are waiting for spring,” Faehnel said. “This is an event I hope to see happen again when they can add more exciting things to it, and we can congregate more in the future after the pandemic.”
Brynne Mann covers the City of Kent. Contact her at [email protected]