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Snapshot: When the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau sought actors for a new tourism video campaign, it stayed all in the family

by on February 28, 2020 3:40 PM

The newly rebranded Happy Valley Adventure Bureau recently launched a tourism marketing campaign that includes a series of videos that take a fun approach to promoting the region.

The videos feature a family suffering from a heavy dose of boredom suddenly finding themselves whisked away to Happy Valley by comical Happy Valley Adventure Bureau agents Chipper and Friendly.

The family of three now appearing on screens in key markets – including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Delaware – is more than just a carefully chosen group of actors.

The father, mother, and daughter are actually the Englehardts, a real-life family from New York State.

Bridgett and Fred Englehardt, along with their daughter Molly, play a bored and busy family in need of a vacation.

“We’re both in education,” Bridgett notes of her 16-year career in teaching and Fred’s role as a school administrator. “Molly really is the star of the show. …We’re the bonus that comes along with her.”

Twelve-year-old Molly is a child actor with a background in dance.

The three auditioned for the roles at the suggestion of Molly’s agent, secured their parts, and traveled to Centre County for several days of shooting in late November. Previously, only Fred had visited the region and then only as a child.

“When we first realized we had the gig, we did some research,” Fred says.

“Anybody we asked was like, ‘You’re going to love [Happy Valley],’” adds Bridgett.

Still, before their visit, the family admits they mostly knew of the area due to its ties to Penn State. They would soon realize all that Centre County offers beyond the sports scene and scholarly endeavors.

The Englehardts had a packed itinerary. The shooting started with a visit to RE Farm Café before moving on to Big Spring Spirits.

“The whole concept the creative team came up with is, every place we went, the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau agents pop up. …They had shown up at RE Farm, and then they showed up as the bartender [at Big Spring Spirits], so we’re kind of on this journey in Happy Valley and they keep showing up,” explains Bridgett.

In the finished materials, viewers see the agents keeping a watchful eye on the family at each stop, ensuring good times are had by all.

Go-karting and hiking scenes were shot at Tussey Mountain, shopping scenes in downtown Bellefonte, and tour scenes at Penn’s Cave.

“When I think about the whole trip, it really didn’t feel like work at all,” Bridgett says. “It literally felt like a tiny family vacation. We got to check out all these amazing places and got a little flavor of what these places are actually like. [Happy Valley] is so much more than just Penn State. That was my takeaway. …There’s so much more this area has to offer. Penn State is amazing, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. The whole area is amazing.”

Looking back on their trip, the family easily pinpoints their favorite sites and activities. For Molly, it was Boal Mansion, while Bridgett and Fred chose Penn’s Cave.

It wasn’t just the many fun things to do and see in Centre County that pleased the Englehardts. They found the locals play a big role in creating a truly “happy” Happy Valley experience.

“The business owners were so friendly and so over the moon with having us here and being able to share this treasure that they have,” Fred says.

“It felt like we were in our hometown; we didn’t feel like outsiders coming in,” adds Bridgett. “All of the people here made it such a great experience.”

And the Englehardts had such a fun time in Happy Valley that they’re planning a return trip in the summer, this time with their two other daughters as well. They were able to make a quick trip back to the area in late January for the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau’s special reception to premiere the campaign videos for key community members. The family even got a little sightseeing in then, too, stopping by a few State College staples, Beaver Stadium, and The Waffle Shop.

When asked if they would recommend other families travel to Happy Valley, Fred, Bridgett and Molly reply with a resounding “yes,” noting the destination’s family-friendliness, affordability, and ease of travel. 

“It’s just so family-friendly. … It’s not like some of the more expensive vacation spots where you’re really spending a lot of money to do something fun,” Bridgett says. “And everything’s close, too. … In a weekend, you can get a lot of things done for a reasonable price that are really, really fun and maybe not give up a whole week of your time.”

 

Holly Riddle is a freelance writer in State College.

 

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