Central PA Festival of the Arts

– by Ellie Aungst

Since 1967, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts has been a highlight of the summer in StateCollege. With nine days of music, theatre, dance, puppet shows, educational television shows, and even a ribbon-cutting by then Governor Raymond Shafer, that first event was unlike anything CentralPennsylvania had ever seen. The community responded enthusiastically and voila, Happy Valley’s annual miracle was born.

Today, the festival is just five days long and filled with art, music, children’s activities, food, and of course, the chance to run into everyone you’ve ever known.

The centerpiece of the festival is the nationally known Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, with over 300 juried artists from all across the country. Each artist has created and made his or her own work—and talking to the artists is a great part of the shopping experience.

2016 Street Painting Woman
2016 Procession
Allen Street w Banners

In addition to artists, the Festivalshowcasesmore than 50 performances on a variety of outdoor and indoor stages. With performers from central Pennsylvania’s vibrant music scene and touring performers as well, hearing a show at the Allen Street stage is a quintessential festival experience.

Unfortunately, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the shift of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts from a live festival to a virtual one. But our audience rallied behind the artists and the performers, who, in an instant, saw their livelihoods evaporate. Artists, performers, even food vendors, were all there on our website for a different kind of festival.

In 2021 the Festival will be virtual once again—social distancing and the Arts Festival just aren’t compatible. So please tune in to arts-festival.com from July 8-11 for great shopping, live-streamed performances, fun things to do with your kids, and more.

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We remain optimistic about producing the Festival’s younger “sibling”, First Night State College, on December 31. With ice sculptures, performances in churches and public buildings, a procession of giant puppets, a 5K run, resolution sculptures and more, it’s a day of family fun, that will be the perfect way to say goodbye to one year and look forward to better days ahead.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at HappyValley.com/events