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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Square Fest highlights best of Akron neighborhood

8/22/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Music, art and community organizations will be on hand at Square Fest in Highland Square Aug. 31. Shown is last year’s event.
Photo courtesy of Brian Feltner
HIGHLAND SQUARE — Square Fest will bring a day of music, art and food to West Market Street in Highland Square Aug. 31.

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the neighborhood’s diversity will be showcased through live entertainment on five stages and more than 50 exhibitors with art and community information. There also will be an interactive children’s area and street performers during the free event, according to Brittany Schmoekel, of the city of Akron’s Recreation Bureau.

Square Fest is a city of Akron-sponsored event. The Highland Square Neighborhood Association had originally planned to host its Art in the Square festival that day, but it has been moved to Oct. 12, along with another edition of the PorchRokr neighborhood music event, according to that event’s website.

Brian Feltner, a Highland Square resident who last year helped put together the first Square Fest when Art in the Square was on hiatus, said with the city’s assistance, the festival is coming together nicely.

“There are a lot of firsts this year,” Feltner said. “It’s moving it in a forward direction.”

Feltner said he’s happy that for the first time, the Highland Theater will host an activity during the festival. Plans call for organizers of the Akron Children’s Museum to have a planetarium activity in the theater.

There also will be children’s attractions, such as a train ride and inflatable bounce house, plus some free activities, Feltner added.

The West Akron and North Akron Kiwanis clubs also are involved and will hold a contest for Akron’s best pizza during the festival. Local pizzerias are expected to compete.

Feltner said Annabell’s is another first-time participant, with the West Market Street bar expected to have a beer garden at the rear during the festival.

As for music, Square Fest will boast five stages that will feature local bands. The lineup includes Mike Lenz, Umojah Nation, Fast Molasses and the Misery Jackals, among others.

West Market Street will be closed from Portage Path to Casterton Avenue during the festival. Along the street will be local artists with their creations for sale, as well as community groups with information.

Some food vendors will be on site, and the neighborhood’s restaurants also will be open, Feltner said.

He added he hopes local residents will come out to enjoy the day and see what the neighborhood has to offer.

“It’s one day a year to throw our big party in the middle of the street,” he said.

Parking will be available in the neighborhood and at off-site lots, with the city’s trolley providing free shuttle service, according to Feltner. In addition to the city, sponsors include Mustard Seed Market, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Oriana House, Executive Properties and the West Hill Neighborhood Organization.

Schedules of performers and more information can be found at the website www.akronsquarefest.org.

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