Lock Haven Hosts 19th Annual Kent's Fest Celebration
Commonwealth University-Lock Haven' Department of Exceptionality Programs and Council of Exceptional Children student group recently hosted the 19th annual Kent's Fest Celebration after a three-year hiatus, due to COVID-19. The event provides a musical talent show for children and adults with disabilities.
This year's theme was "Road Trip USA," for which participants created unique performances to personally selected music aligned with the theme. Approximately 450 students in grades kindergarten through 12 from Penns Valley, Bellefonte, Keystone Central, Sugar Valley Area Charter, Jersey Shore, Williamsport, South Williamsport, Montoursville, and East Lycoming school district participated. CARES of Central PA, an adult agency, also took part in the event, with more than 500 attendees coming to watch the performances throughout the day.
"All of the teachers and classrooms were so excited that Kent's Fest was returning after the hiatus due to COVID," said Dr. Erica Moore, lead for the Department of Exceptionality Programs and event coordinator. "I received so many emails before and after the event thanking me for continuing this special event. The positive energy and happiness on the day of the celebration is truly why I organize the event."
Thirty Lock Haven student-volunteers helped plan, organize, and support the event. Before the event, students created posters for each classroom based on their selected song performance, helped with decorations, and delivered T-shirts to participants. On the day of the event, students supported classrooms and performers.
"Getting to announce the classrooms as they came up on stage and preform was such a pleasure," said Katie Mease, an early/special education dual major from Pine Grove. "There is truly nothing better than getting to watch classrooms perform their musical acts that they worked so hard on and getting to see the pride and joy in their smiles is the icing on the cake. Kent's Fest 2023 is a day I will remember for the rest of my life."
"I am truly blessed to have facilitated this special event since 2013," Moore said. "The day is a welcoming environment filled with smiles, laughter, and pure love! It is truly a heart-warming day in which Lock Haven can offer an event on campus that means so much to the community. I am also immensely grateful for the continued support as a grant recipient from Clinton County Community Foundation year after year."