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To celebrate the beginning weeks of summer, Main Street Kent will host the seventh annual Masterpieces on Main Art and Wine Festival in downtown Kent from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.
North Water Street will be closed from Main Street to Columbus Street and West Main Street will be closed from Franklin Avenue to Water Street to make room for seven local wineries, 45 visiting artists and live entertainment.
Heather Malarcik, Main Street Kent executive director, said the festival is the perfect opportunity to take a peek at all the new and exciting developments downtown.
"It's a really nice downtown event that all locals like and it brings all the people from surrounding communities to our town to see what we have going on here," Malarcik said. "There's been so much going on the last couple of years. People can come down and check that out."
Admission is free, and for $10 event goers can purchase a commemorative wine glass and three "taste" tickets to be used at their choice of the seven winery tents.
Local wineries participating in the event include: Wolf Creek, Troutman Vineyards, Viking Vineyards & Winery, Maize Valley Winery, Barrel Run Winery, Meniru Meadery and Crafted Artisan Meadery. Food will also be available for purchase from Taproot Catering.
"Four of the wineries are returning, but this year we added two meaderies, which is honey wine, and Barrel Run was just added this week," Malarcik said. "You can go around and taste all the different wines. You can also purchase additional tickets to taste, get your glass filled up or to buy a bottle to go."
While strolling through the festival, visitors will be serenaded by live music all day at the Hometown Bank Plaza, with Woody's providing sound for the event. Peggy and Brad will kick off the festival at noon, Boy=Girl will follow at 2 p.m., Diana Chittester will take the stage at 4 p.m., Scarlet and the Harlots will play at 6 p.m. and headlining the event is B-String Band at 8 p.m.
"This year, we have all new bands playing the event," Malarcik said. "Most of the bands are local. The music ranges from folky to bluesy."
Malarcik said people enjoy making a day out of the festival.
"You can walk around and look, sit in the grass and listen to music and go get something to eat," Malarcik said. "It's not just a walk through and then you're done and it's over. It's ongoing. It's a good fun event and people tend to stick around for a while and enjoy it."
There will be all kinds of different art on display from recycled plastic sculpture, stain glass and acrylics to lamps, photography and jewelery.
"We always send out an email to invite all the artists from former years," Malarcik said. "We also take a look at local galleries, the Akron Museum of Art, the Kent State art program and other connections we have. Our only requirement is all of the art has to be hand done. We don't allow any other vendors to participate in this. It is strictly art done by the people themselves."
This is the third year Robert Williams, an Akron-based photographer, will have his work on display at the festival.
"It is a really good show," Williams said. "We got a really good response, especially last year. The weather wasn't very good, but we got an overwhelming response from the community in Kent. It was amazing."
Williams specializes in grand, large-scale landscape photography.
"I travel all over the United States and Canada, from out west, to Arizona and California, to the Canadian Rockies and Nova Scotia doing panoramic large format photography," Williams said. "It's very traditional. It's all film capture, processing and printing."
Williams will have a range of large and small gallery wrapped canvas prints on display, as well as a new line of smaller prints.
"This is the first show we're actually unveiling some new images that people have never seen before," Williams said. "We're really excited about that. The new line is smaller 4 by 10 prints in these gorgeous moldings with easel backed frames."
Williams said people enjoy the quality of his images the most.
"The fact that it's done in such a large format, the detail and the saturation, it's just absolutely phenomenal," Williams said. "When you look at it, there's so much depth. The pictures just kind of look like they come alive."
Williams is the owner of Tallmadge photography studio and gallery, 137 East Avenue, suite 38 in Tallmadge.
He has been doing photography professionally since 1976.
"I was into photography big time in high school and then I went to Kent State and majored in photojournalism," Williams said. "Basically, I just kind of fell in love with it. I have a full photography studio where I do high school senior pictures and family portraits and things like that and then with my love of fine arts photography I do higher end art shows and museum exhibitions, and that's more geared towards home interiors and offices."
Williams started the home interior line because so many people wanted to purchase his images.
"I do most of my work for myself, but a lot of people have wanted to buy my images over the years," Williams said. "I have a lot of doctors and corporations that purchase images for their waiting rooms. One of the hospitals in Youngstown has an image up in their board room. It's a 100 inch print that is almost the size of their board room table, so when everybody's in there for a meeting, they see this massive gorgeous image on the wall next to them."
Williams said his images are perfect for a wedding present or a house warming gift.
"They are really outstanding for gifts," Williams said. "It's inexpensive. They are not outrageously priced and they are absolutely gorgeous. They are so nice I put them in my house. If I wouldn't put it in my house, I wouldn't sell it."
Williams art ranges from $40 up to a couple thousand dollars.
From music, art, dining and shopping, this festival has something for everyone.
For more information, call Main Street Kent at 330-677-8000 or visit mainstreetkent.org.