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5 things to do in NEO: Film fun, Stan Hywet with Mom and more

The silent 1915 film "Portage Trail" screens as part of the 6th annual Highland Square Film Festival in Akron, showing views of the city from over a century ago.
Periscope Film
The silent 1915 film "Portage Trail" screens as part of the 6th annual Highland Square Film Festival in Akron, showing views of the city from over a century ago.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and there’s plenty to do to make her entire weekend special, from concerts to a film fest to enjoying nature and even creating art with some feline help.

Highland Square Film Fest

The 6th annual Highland Square Film Festival is back on Saturday, May 13, at Akron’s historic Highland Theatre, which turns 85 this year. A pre-festival event on Friday, May 12, includes Q&A with actor and Akron native John Magaro ("Orange Is the New Black") as part of a screening of Kelly Reichardt's "First Cow." The festival concludes with a musical performance from Free Black! and the reported premiere of 1915's "The Portage Trail," a long-lost silent film about Akron at the dawn of the 20th century.

Men of Independence

The Men of Independence barbershop chorus holds its Youth Harmony Festival and Spring Show this weekend, May 12-13. The group will also conduct workshops this week in schools in underserved communities alongside special guest Radius, a contemporary a cappella group from Chicago. The students will then join the two groups and perform at John Carroll University in University Heights Saturday, May 12, at 6 p.m.

Painting with cats

All Fired Up! pottery studio in Medina is collaborating with its neighbor, Cats on the Square animal rescue, for two events on Friday, May 12. A children’s story time will be followed by painting of either a "pawsitive cat dish" or a small cat figurine at 6:30 p.m. A second session happens at 7:30 p.m. Kittens will be "on paw" to provide cuddles, purrs and inspiration.

Mother’s Day at Stan Hywet

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is well known for its Father’s Day car show. But on Mother’s Day, all moms can take a complimentary self-guided tour of the historic gardens, grounds and 65-room Manor House in Akron. Currently, the house features an exhibit on Goodyear founder F.A. Seiberling, who built Stan Hywet for his family from 1912-1915. The exhibit examines the Seiberling family, including F.A.’s grandson, U.S. Rep. John Seiberling, who helped establish Cuyahoga Valley National Park in 1974.

Native plants

Looking for a last-minute gift or a fun outing ahead of Mother’s Day? Cleveland Metroparks holds native plant sales at several locations Saturday, May 13, starting at 9:30 a.m. Expect to find hardy, low-maintenance plants that add beauty and also provide an oasis for native pollinators. The sales are at the park’s nature centers in Brecksville, Rocky River, North Chagrin, Parma's West Creek Reservation and at the Ohio & Erie Canalway Center.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.