Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts gearing up for its 58th Annual event

– by Guest Writer

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will once again fill the streets of downtown State College and the adjacent Penn State campus with a celebration of the arts beginning Wednesday, July 10th through Sunday, July 14th.

Arts Poster

The 2024 Arts Festival poster is available in many locations downtown, including the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau at 204 W. Beaver.

Founded by the State College Chamber of Commerce and Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture, the Festival attracts approximately 150,000 visitors each summer. The Festival features the nationally recognized Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, a juried gallery exhibition, Children and Youth Day, Street Painting, educational opportunities, music, dance and theatrical performances in a variety of outdoor venues.

The 58th Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts kicks off with our special Children and Youth Day, presented by SHEETZ, on Wednesday, July 10th, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. This day will showcase young artists, provide educational opportunities, and celebrate diverse cultures. On this special day, young artists sell their wares at the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale, with more than 300 young artists ages 8 to 18 participating!


New this year, families can enjoy a cultural journey through the Festival streets. Consider starting your day in Sidney Friedman park where you can enjoy cultural performances from around the world including performances by Roots of Life, Black Cat Egyptian Belly Dancing, Dance4Joy, Packard Highland Dancers and more. Then, swing by our passport stop to grab a program guide and begin your journey. There will be five passport stations located in Sidney Friedman Park, MLK Plaza, Old Main Lawn, Municipal Plaza, and S. Allen Street/Nittany Ave. Each location will share information about their culture, and once you complete the activity, you will earn your sticker! Complete your passport and return it to Stuckey Mitsubishi for your chance to win a DelGrosso’s Amusement Park prize pack! Children & Youth Day will be packed with an all-new lineup of performances geared towards entertaining, but also showcasing what becoming a professional artist could look like! You won’t want to miss the visual arts station on Allen Street where you can paint a mural and watch Cody Sabol, a world-renowned speed painter, create three large pieces of artwork in just minutes!

Young visitors can also explore their artistic talents through free creative activities in Sidney Friedman Park and on the Old Main lawn starting at 10:00 a.m.

Art Fest

Finally, everyone in the family can choose their favorite giant puppet and march in the Children & Youth Day Grand Procession of giant (and not so giant) papier-mache puppets from Old Main Lawn to Sidney Friedman Park, accompanied by drummers and a pep band from State College Area High School. The procession steps off promptly at 4:00 p.m. from the Old Main lawn.

The lineup for Children & Youth Day on July 10 at the Festival includes:

  • Paint by Number Poster Mural – 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Childrens Workshops & Creative Activities – 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Childrens Workshops & Creative Activities – 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Old Main Lawn
  • Cultural Showcase – 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Children & Youth Sidewalk Sale – 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
  • Mt. Nittany Dog Training Club Demonstration – 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Central PA Dance Workshop – 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM - Downsbrough Room at Schlow Library
  • Cirque Phoenix – 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Children & Youth Day Procession at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts - 4:00 PM - Old Main Lawn
  • The Felice Brothers – 8:00 PM – State Theatre ($) sponsored by CPFA

On Thursday, July 11th, the Annual Juried Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition takes center stage. Our Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition is the perfect place for shopping while you support the more than 300 independent artist-entrepreneurs from across the country. Whether you’re looking for a work of art, piece of jewelry, housewares, or all of the above, our artists have something for you. You’ll find some of the country’s most talented artists in a wide variety of media from ceramics to wood. A panel of four jurors will award over $20,000 in prize money to winning exhibitors during a ceremony at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 13th, at the Allen Street Stage.

Art Fest

The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition is open from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., Thursday, July 11 through Saturday, July 13, and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 14.

Live performances are another highlight of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. New for this year, we have eliminated the sale of wristbands/buttons! What does this mean? Well, ALL of the live entertainment hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts is now outdoors and FREE for our guests! This summer, we’ll again be offering a mix of old favorites and new performers on our outdoor stages. Performance venues include the Festival Shell on the Old Main lawn, the Allen Street Stage, Sidney Friedman Park, and you’ll find smaller acts at many outdoor plazas throughout the Festival. Please note that there are a few indoor events sponsored by the CPFA that are ticketed by their host organizations such as; Happy Valley Improv, The State Theatre, and Tempest Productions.

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts downtown arts fest

The many activities and musical performances for this year’s festival is as follows:

Thursday, July 11, 2024

  • Tussey Mountain Moonshiners - 11:00 AM - Allen Street Stage
  • Below Centre – 1:00 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Deb Callahan Band – 2:30 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Quasi Quintet – 3:00 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • The Ultra Kinds – 4:00 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Touch of Classics – 4:30 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Corner Brothers – 5:00 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • THE JR Mangan Band – 6:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Kevin Briggs Blues Experience – 6:30 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Caryn Dixon Trio – 7:00 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Happy Valley Improv Youth Show – 7:00 PM – Blue Brick Theatre ($) sponsored by CPFA
  • Eric Brace & Last Train Home – 8:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • The Soul Benders – 9:00 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Coal Aly Band – 9:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park

Friday, July 12, 2024

  • DJ Elbow Knee Knee – 11:00 AM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Anchor & Arrow – 11:30 AM – Allen Street Stage
  • A Midsummer Stroll – 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM – Festival Route
  • Sam Hallacher Quartet – 1:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Black Cat Belly Dance – 2:30 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Hops & Vines – 3:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Christine Havrilla & Gypsy Fuzz – 4:00 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Hartman & Goslin – 4:30 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • The Triple A Blues Band – 5:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Nation Beat – 6:00 PM – 3Dots
  • Blue Eyed Sally – 6:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Matt Otis & the Sounds – 6:30 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • The Bard in the Boro – 6:45 PM – Downtown Theatre
  • Happy Valley Improv – 7:00 PM & 9:00 PM – Blue Brick Theatre ($) sponsored by CPFA
  • Ted McCloskey & the Hi Fi’s – 7:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Chase Campbell – 9:00 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Joy Marie & the Gill Street Band – 9:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • DJ Timmy Tatts & Gingerman – State Theatre – ($)
  • The Pines – 9:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
2015 Sidewalk Sale B Screenshot

Saturday, July 13, 2024

  • Sidewalk Sale & Exhibition Award Ceremony - 9:00 AM - Allen Street Stage
  • Public Art Walk – 9:30 AM – 3DOTS
  • Kid Friendly Best of the Fest – 11:00 AM – Tempest Studios
  • DJ Elbow Knee Knee – 11:00 AM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • The Skoal Brothers – 11:30 AM – Allen Street Stage
  • State College Municipal Band – 12:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • House of Hamil – 1:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Songwriter Showcase – 2:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Rick Hirsch 5 – 2:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • The Extra Miles – 3:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Altoona Brass Collective – 5:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • The Sorters – 5:00 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Natascha & the Spy Boys – 5:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Across the Pond – 7:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Ady’s Latin Band – 7:00 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • The Cartoons of Max Fleischer – 7:00 PM – State Theatre ($)
  • Happy Valley Improv – 7:00 PM & 9:00 PM – Blue Brick Theatre ($) sponsored by CPFA
  • Hamlet: The Time is Out of Joint – 7:30 PM – Tempest Studios ($) sponsored by CPFA
  • OK Otter - 7:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • 8 Ohms Band – 9:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Pure Cane Sugar – 9:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • The Tall Pines – 9:30 PM – Sidney Friedman Park

Sunday, July 14, 2024

  • Never Far: Songs of Hope & Celebration – 11:00 AM – MLK Plaza
  • Nittany Knights – 11:30 AM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Eric Ian Farmer & Friends – 12:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Velveeta – 12:30 PM – Festival Shell Stage
  • Alice in Wonderland – Tempest Children’s Ensemble – 1:00 PM – Tempest Studios
  • Bellefonte Community Band – 2:00 PM – Sidney Friedman Park
  • Cat’s Eye – 2:30 PM – Allen Street Stage
  • Hamlet: The Time is Out of Joint – 7:30 PM – Tempest Studios ($) sponsored by CPFA
  • Dave Zentner & the Nashville Music Co. – 3:00 PM – Festival Shell Stage
Festive Spirits Party Central PA Festival of the Arts

Attendees can take part in a Craft Beverage Expo at the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 pm each day.

The 2024 Street Painting exhibition recognizes the cross-border popularity of street painting among Italy, England, and Germany. A variety of local visual artists will create 6-foot by 4-foot paintings on Foster Avenue at South Allen Street. For a $5 fee, the Young Artists Alley gives children the opportunity to create a 14”x 14” square street painting. Painting ends at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, weather permitting.

The public is invited to celebrate the 58th Festival by purchasing tickets to the Festive Spirits benefit party, which will be held at The Towers, 403 South Allen Street, on Friday, July 12, at 5:00 p.m. Bellefonte’s Big Spring Spirits will provide locally sourced spirits, with hors d’oeuvres by Catering with Style. The Festive Spirits Party is made possible by the support of Big Spring Spirits, InVested Advisors, HigherEdJobs, Fulton Bank, RE/MAX Centre Realty-The McKenzie Milward Group, Investment Research Partners, Continental Real Estate Management, Keystone Real Estate Group, HRG, Whiting-Turner, Bloom MedAesthetics, Excelis Leadership Consulting, Shy Bear Brewing, and Avant Garden. Tickets to the party are $150 and can be purchased by calling the Arts Festival office or by visiting arts-festival.com/festive-spirits-party.

An annual favorite, the CPFA Silent Auction, will be returning this year. The 2024 Silent Auction will be in its traditional spot on the 100 block of South Allen Street. The Silent Auction opens on Thursday, July 11 at noon. It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It’s a great place to see a sampling of all the great fine art and craft in the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition. The proceeds of the Silent Auction help to defray the costs of the Festival.

The Festival’s fine art exhibition, Images 2024 hangs in Schlow Centre Region Library, 211 S. Allen Street during the month of July. Images 2024 is open to artists whose primary residence is in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Artists entered the show by submitting digital images of work created in the last three years. The works in Images have been selected by juror James Farrah of Bellefonte, PA.

Arts Festival 2

Schlow Library’s BookFestPA 2024 celebrates the written word as an art form for all ages. Eager fans of mystery, romance, science-fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, children’s fiction, and more genres will convene on Saturday, July 13 in the Schlow Centre Region Library Parking Lot. Join us to meet authors and artists who work for large publishing companies, as well as independents who create their own paths. Visit the authors’ and artists’ tables to meet returning favorites as well as individuals joining us for the first time! Purchase books for children, teens, and adults.

BookFestPA will be held from 10am to 4pm on the grounds of Schlow Centre Region Library’s surface and underground parking lot. No registration is required.

This year, the Festival has once again partnered with the Central Pennsylvania Tasting Trail, which will present a craft beverage expo in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, from Friday, July 12 through Saturday, July 13, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day. Fifteen Centre County distilleries, wineries, breweries, and cideries are participating. After making a $10 donation, patrons over the age of 21 with be able to enjoy beverage tastings and the opportunity to purchase local craft beverages.

The Nittany Valley Running Club is hosting the annual Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival Races presented by Mount Nittany Health this year. This year’s race will again be held at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg on Sunday, July 14, starting at 8:30am. Pre-registration is required, and a packet pick-up location will be located at the Festival across from Schlow Library.

Festival Food is also sure to delight this year with the return of all your favorites and the addition of food trucks on the Penn State Campus at the corner of Pollock & Burrowes. Be sure to come with cash and card in hand as vendors accept a variety of payment options.

Penn State Alumni will also be involved!

Arts Fest has partnered with the Centre County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association to provide a Courtesy Tent. The Penn State Alumni are truly showing their love of all things Arts Fest this year, and that includes a special consideration of how to best support our guests! This year, you can find a courtesy tent on the State College Municipal Plaza where you can check your purchases for safe keeping while continuing to shop and/or enjoy other aspects of the Festival. Additionally, with the bag check located at the State College Municipal Plaza, it also offers the convenience of pick-up in the rear parking lot, avoiding the need to carry purchases back to your car if it is far to walk or difficult to carry. You will also find water for sale, “Alumni Arts Festival” t-shirts, a glimpse of the new Nittany Lion Inn renovations, and a chance to win a stay at the Inn during the 2025 Arts Festival weekend!

The courtesy tent will be available Thursday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Checked items must be picked up by or before the listed times and cannot be left over night.

To purchase an Alumni t-shirt in advance, visit arts-festival.spiritsale.com

Our partnership with Penn State Alumni does not stop there! The Penn State Alumni Association is also getting in on the act by hosting HINTZpiration: Artistry at the Alumni Center.

The Penn State Alumni Association is proud to host “Hintzpiration: Artistry at the Alumni Center,” an art exhibit happening July 12–13, 2024 featuring the work of the late Lanny Sommese, a world-renowned State College designer and Penn State distinguished professor emeritus. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bikers Encouraged to Visit!

Do you live locally and hate fighting traffic and searching for parking? Hope on your bike and pedal on over to Beaver Avenue Garage where you will find Expanded & Covered Bike Parking! While riding your bike through the Festival is strictly prohibited, we recognize that biking to the Festival could alleviate a lot of parking stress. This is why we have partnered with Freeze Thaw Cycles and the State College Borough to offer this extra bike parking downtown! Keep an eye out for posted hours when volunteer cycling enthusiasts will be on hand to monitor the parking area. You are responsible for properly securing your bike the provided racks.

Schlow Library offers Sensory Oasis!

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts is dedicated to providing an accessible festival experience for everyone. We agree attending a Festival of this magnitude can be daunting for community members and families with special needs and families with young children. It is our goal to ensure everyone has a great festival experience.

Recognizing the majority of our Festival is mobility accessible, we are taking additional steps this year, through a partnership with the Schlow Centre Region Library, to provide consciously designated Sensory Oasis spaces where visitors can relax and recharge.

Schlow Centre Region Library: Your Oasis in the middle of the Festival.

SENSORY OASIS SPACES - For community members and families in need of sensory breaks, Schlow will host dedicated sensory spaces on the 2nd floor, in the Adult & Teen Library during the festival.

• Need a space, but not privacy, to relax and breathe, find the Quiet Area in the nook overlooking the intersection of Allen Street and Beaver Avenue.

• Looking for low stimulation with moderate activity to reduce stress, we recommend the Teen Space that overlooks the parking lot.

• For a more controlled environment, where music or games may be played, Joyce’s Sun Room is equipped with streamable music or audiobooks, coloring books, crafts, and other supplies to help alleviate stress.

SERVICE ANIMALS - CPFA welcomes and supports the rights and attendance of all persons with disabilities that rely on the special skills of a trained service animal. A ‘service animal’ is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability.” Emotional support or comfort animals are not considered service animals under the ADA and therefore are not allowed at Disco Presents festivals. Please note that all service dogs, including those from out of state, are subject to local dog ordinances, which include a valid rabies certificate.

NURSING AND LACTATION STATION - Parents and caregivers are welcome to feed their babies wherever they are comfortable in the library. For families who desire a private space to nurse or pump, Schlow offers a Nursing and Lactation Station. Simply stop by the Children's Desk and ask a staff member to unlock the space for you, which also includes a toy for the entertainment of siblings, so the whole family can enjoy the space together. Please help us express our gratitude to Mount Nittany Health for their sponsorship of this essential space.

Schlow Centre Region Library is located in the center of Downtown State College. Our award-winning public library offers clean restrooms, public computing and printing, as well as an ongoing book sale.

Schlow is open to the public Wednesday, 9am-8pm, Thursday 12pm-8pm, Friday 9am-6pm, and Saturday 9am-6pm.

Finally, as if all of that wasn’t enough of a reason to venture into downtown State College this summer, the Festival food options will surely lure you in! In complement to the incredible array of restaurants that call downtown home, a variety of food trucks will be set up throughout the festival, and we assure you, there is something for everyone.

Where should you park?

We encourage visitors to use Penn State’s West Parking Deck on White Course Drive near the IST Building and use free bus service to get to and from the event.  Parking is $1/hour for the first two hours and $10 for between two and ten hours, cash and credit cards accepted. Free bus service will be available from the West Parking Deck to the center of the Festival at the corner of College Avenue and Allen Street, making an additional stop at the NEW Palmer Museum of Art. Patrons may walk from the West Parking Deck to the Festival zone. It is approximately ½ mile, a ten-minute walk.

In downtown State College, there are municipal parking garages on Beaver Avenue, Fraser Street, and Pugh Street. During the Festival, the hourly rate is $2.25 per hour or any portion thereof with a maximum daily rate of $32.

Many organizations help sponsor the Arts Festival!

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and additional grant support from The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau and Centre County Commissioners.

The mission of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts is to celebrate the arts with presentations of diverse, high-quality visual and performing arts through the cooperative volunteer support of the community and The Pennsylvania State University. The essence of this organization is the enrichment and education of the audience, grounded in personal interaction between artist and audience.

This Festival has grown because of the collaborative spirit of the Centre County communities, numerous sponsors (https://arts-festival.com/spon...), Penn State University, the Borough of State College, a dedicated volunteer board, more than 600 devoted volunteers, and a dynamic and passionate staff. We look forward to seeing YOU at this year’s Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts!

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