While State College can be fairly quiet over the summer, it is home to the Central PA 4thFest and the best all-volunteer fireworks display in the nation! The 4thFest has been rated among the top five Largest, Biggest, Best 4th of July Fireworks shows in the United States. Not too shabby for a college town.
The 4thFest is a day-long, patriotic birthday party held on Penn State’s east campus. It is organized by Central Pennsylvania July 4, Inc., a non-profit organization with an all-volunteer board and leadership team consisting of over 550 volunteers. Not only do they put together one heck of a fireworks show, but they also work year-round to plan and organize the fun-filled activities for the July 4th event.
The celebration will kick off with the annual Firecracker 4K at 9 a.m. on campus. Everyone is encouraged to participate since there will be prizes awarded to top finishers in all categories.
The 3rd annual Parade of Heroes will begin in front of the State College Municipal Building at 2 p.m. The parade route will travel around downtown and across campus, ending at the Law School Building. This year, the start of the parade will coincide with the ringing of bells, reminding people that the Fourth of July is a day to commemorate and remember the blessings we all enjoy in America.
An exciting addition to this year’s celebration are the Dialed Action Sports BMX riders and rollerbladers who will use ramps to perform choreographed shows. Show times will be at 5:30, 7, and 8 p.m. in the east side lower parking lot of the Bryce Jordan Center. The team will execute professional stunts including back flips, no-handers, 360s, supermans, and countless other impressive maneuvers.
Or instead, take a whirl at logrolling! A team of professional lumberjacks from Minnesota will compete in 11 different events against each other, with shows starting at 4:30, 6, and 7:30 p.m. See everything from axes, modified racing chainsaws, water events, and cross cut saws and chainsaw carving giveaways. Following each show will be a 30 minute “lumberjack camp” in which audience members will get a chance to try lumberjacking on their own!
Danna Cheung, a student at Penn State, talked about the memories and friends she made at 4thFest last summer.
“4thFest means a great deal to me because I find the event to be a wonderful bonding experience for the community. We all come together to celebrate and it’s one of those times that you can build new friendships and learn new things about others,” said Cheung.
Throughout the day, there will be additional activities in the Town Square, with musical entertainment provided at three separate venues—the Centre Stage in parking lot 44, the Bryce Jordan Center Lawn Acoustic Stage, and the Towne Square in the Stadium West parking lot.
Alanna Rudolph, a student at Penn State, shared her excitement for this year’s festivities.
“I expect 4thFest to be a fun family event for the State College community. There have been rides for the kids and food vendors in the past. What I look forward to most is the fireworks!” said Rudolph.
Of course, the biggest performance of the day will be the fireworks, held at 9 p.m. near the stadium. A grand finale is planned so don’t miss out! With all that is planned for this year’s 4thFest, there’s bound to be something of interest for everyone in the State College community. Come out and celebrate the independence of America—and the history of Central Pennsylvania too!
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