Grange Park More Than Just The Fairgrounds

– by Tiah Zuzulo

If you have visited the State College area, odds are you have heard of, or even attended, the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair. With an impressive assortment of activities, rides, and classic fair food, the Grange Fair is an undeniable destination every August. However, when walking around the fair, enjoying a funnel cake or watching a sheep show, you might wonder what happens when the vendors pack up and the animals return to their pens.

Blue grass fest

Grange Park General Manager, Darlene Confer, was able to answer this question. She tells us how, with 1,500 RV sites, a regionally-recognized equine center, and 264 acres of campground, the Grange Park is home to more than just the fair.

From Camping To Tailgating: A Historical Haven

The Grange Park’s extensive acreage has played host to agricultural and social events since the first Granger’s Picnic in 1874. Today, RV sites and campgrounds are available throughout the year, up until the last Penn State football game, and provide a place to stay for tailgaters, temporary workers, and camping travelers. Notably, the park’s campgrounds are home to the five-day musical celebration known as the Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival from the end of June to the beginning of July each year.

In addition to a camping hub, the park is a “weekend home to alumni, sports enthusiasts, and opposing team visitors,” said Confer, referring to the park’s vast tailgating opportunities. She noted that attendance usually reaches about 400 RVs and several hundred tailgaters, depending on the opposing team, and described some perks of choosing to tailgate at the Grange Park during Penn State football weekends. Tailgaters have the opportunity to walk and bike around the grounds, visit the park’s Penn State store, and take advantage of the shuttle that goes to and from the stadium. The park also allows for RV storage between games or visits, making it an ideal place to set up shop for the weekend.

When asked what draws people to camp and tailgate at the Grange Park, Confer replied that the park is a prime location with easy access to Penn State and nearby highways, and is a particularly “well-maintained and well-manicured facility.” She gives kudos to her staff, who she says have been praised by visitors for being “service-oriented and going out of their way to help.”

Tailgate R Vs at Grange Park

Equine Excellence

If camping is not your forte and the Nittany Lions have an off-weekend, consider visiting the park’s Equine Center, recognized as one of the best in the Mid-Atlantic. An active show and exhibition center from March to October, the Equine Center hosts a variety of indoor and outdoor events.

In the fall months, see the Happy Valley Rodeo, a compilation of sanctioned rodeo competitions like barrel racing and roping events. In 2023, the rodeo was hosted as a fundraiser by Penn State’s Delta Theta Sigma fraternity. Every October, visit the Mounted Games Across America, a series of youth-focused, fast-paced relay races. In June, come to watch a breed show or the park’s biggest quarter horse show brought by the Quarter Horse Association.

The Equine Center’s events and shows are “geared towards both novice and more experienced equestrians” and “encompasses the range of equine interest and ability,” stated Confer.

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Fun Beyond The Fair

The park’s diverse offerings don’t stop there, and Confer was sure to highlight an attraction for every area of interest.

The People’s Choice Festival takes place every July and features an array of local artists, winery exhibits, “affordable art” sales, and food vendors. A new feature is visitors’ ability to camp on-site, allowing them to enjoy the event for multiple days.

Alpaca and American Kennel Club-sanctioned dog shows, as well as dairy and tractor shows are held at different times throughout the year (find a calendar at If you are looking to escape the crowds or spend time with friends and family at one of the park’s indoor or outdoor spaces, individual events can also be booked with park management.

If you are looking for something a bit more active, sign up for the Grange Fair 5k in August, or contact the park about using the grounds for your own running group’s race.

Confer stated that she hopes locals and visitors can understand and appreciate the range of offerings at the Grange Park beyond the fair.

She said, “Our park is used for more than just the Centre County Grange Fair, people don’t realize its scope.” She explained that one of her favorite things about working at the park is seeing “so many new people and return visitors and being able to get to know them on a personal basis.”

Become a regular or first-time visitor at the Grange Park and experience the competition, artistry, and fun beyond the fair!

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