Arts Fest 2018

We’ve hit that time of year again — summer is halfway over, and things are starting to slow down as the fall semester approaches. After seeing football tickets sell out in just minutes, the excitement of returning back to Happy Valley has definitely skyrocketed, and what better reason to return than for Arts Fest?

Every year, thousands of students head back to State College for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, known more simply as Arts Fest. Festival Director Rick Bryant says, “It’s a great time to see your friends and go to parties and stuff like that, but returning students should definitely come downtown and walk around the booths, go through the water features on South Allen Street, or take in a concert on Old Main Lawn or at the Allen Street Stage … When I talk to students who have been to the festival and ask them what they did, all they mostly did was party — take a break from the party, come downtown and see what it’s all about!”

From July 12 to July 15, you’ll be able to take in everything the festival has to offer. Over 300 artists flock the sidewalks of downtown, selling all kinds of artwork from paintings and photos, to jewelry and ceramics. The Italian Street Painting Festival is also set to take place along Heister Street with regional and national artists creating pastel masterpieces up and down the street, and for just a five dollar fee, you can get your own set of pastels and add to the beauty of it all.

There will also be plenty of entertainment during the day with bands and performers ranging from the indie band The Rad Trads and acoustic country band Pure Cane Sugar, who will be performing for free, to classic rock n’ roll singer David Myles who you can see with the purchase of a $10 festival button.

Bryant also reveals, “We’re having a comedian this year named Joe Machi. He’s a graduate from Penn State’s College of Communications who has done quite well as a stand up comedian, so we’re presenting him in conjunction with our friends at the State Theatre Saturday night at 10. It’s a little more adult than something we normally do, and it’s something you’ll need a ticket for ($20 at the State Theatre), but we’re pretty excited about having Joe.”

And what would a festival be without food? Some familiar faces like Rita’s Italian Ices and Peace, Love and Little Donuts will be hanging out on Heister Street throughout the weekend. Be sure to come hungry and also check out some of the visiting vendors. Heeter’s Ice Cream, the Brazilian Munchies food truck and Chan’s Golden Gate are just a few of the choices, so head downtown and grab a bite — a good weekend and fried rice always go hand in hand. 

With beautiful art all around you, good music, amazing street food and being able to catch up with some friends, Arts Fest promises to be the perfect break from home. Rising sophomore, Carmen Dipippo, describes her first trip to the festival saying, “There’s a lot of fun stuff going on, but considering I went as a freshman during the summer session, Arts Fest was the first chance for me to experience a typical weekend at Penn State and to really feel the pride everyone has for this school. Everyone was so excited to be back in State College and to see their friends, and I felt incredibly optimistic about my decision to attend. The amount of school pride felt that weekend is pretty much at its peak, besides maybe a football weekend.” 

See the beauty of it all for yourself starting July 12, and visit the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts website here for more event details.

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