First Night State College Welcomes 2022 with Ice Sculptures, Resolutions, and Lots of Family-Friendly Fun

– by Cara Aungst

Celebrate New Year’s Eve the Happy Valley way! First Night State College is back in person for 2021, and it’s better than ever.

First Night State College is a full day of fun for all ages with ice skating at Pegula Arena, a 5k race and a grand procession of puppets … and that’s just the beginning. Stroll through Sidney Friedman park to view ice sculptures, take a carriage ride, see the reindeer (new this year), and then step out of the cold to enjoy one of many performances happening throughout the evening.

FNSC Giant Ice Serpent

“It’s a family-oriented celebration of the performing arts, and a celebration of the New Years’ holiday,” says Rick Bryant, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, and First Night State College. “Dress warmly and come downtown. Look at ice sculptures, buy a button and go to performances, then grab a bite to eat at your favorite downtown restaurant.”

Bryant notes that First Night State College is Happy Valley’s biggest event that happens when the students are off campus. “There’s all this great infrastructure without the crowds,” he says. “You are mixing with the Happy Valley locals when you attend — Downtown State College is a very different place over the holidays.”

So bundle up, enjoy FREE unlimited garage parking, and enjoy First Night State College.

  • Watch the start of the 5K Resolution Run. “Watching it counts as vicarious exercise,” Bryant assures us.
  • Join in the Grand Procession that starts at 6:30. It features an array of giant papier-mâché puppets in the shape of birds, lions, wizards, and other animals – even dachshunds! – brought to life by your friends and neighbors — and you! “The more the merrier!”

There’s so much fun to be had, from music to workshops to comedy...and more! Plan your visit at

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at