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Mike the Mailman: State of Traditions

by on July 19, 2011 5:50 AM

I wasn’t sure how many years it takes for something to be considered a tradition, so I looked it up in Mr. Webster’s book. It states: “Tradition is a custom so long continued that it has almost the force of the law.”

We have a unique situation here in Happy Valley. We are known countrywide for some traditions we have,  – Penn State football, for example – while other local traditions have quietly grown to become, arguably, even more popular.

This past weekend, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts celebrated its 45th year. There was something for everyone here in State College: art, entertainment, food, culture, a homecoming of sorts for PSU alumni and locals who have left.

There was another reunion this weekend that I hope will become a tradition: the American Legion Post 245 alumni baseball game held at the Shaner Complex over on my side of the valley. More than 70 “kids” returned to their youthful playground, and what a fun game it was to watch.

While you were downtown this weekend, you were exposed at every direction to how amazing the arts and this festival are. On Allen Street, if you looked up you saw the banners submitted for this year; if you were on Heister Street and looked down, you saw the chalk drawings; or if you were in Sidney Friedman Parklet and looked straight ahead you saw a sand castle that would rival any beach-born creation.

If you needed to be cooled off, Allen Street provided the “bucket bath,” as I call it. Both my daughters were able to successfully run through and not get drenched this year.

If you wanted to heat it up over the weekend (even though it was hot enough outside), there were countless performances to get you dancing. As always, one of my favorite bands, Cartoon, had Katie (my wife) and I dancing Saturday night at the Ale House. That is a personal Arts Fest tradition we have had for some time now. Our daughters Marykate and Michaela watched The Rustlanders perform on the Allen Street stage and then headed over to the Saloon to dance to Mr. Hand’s performance later that night.

Sunday our family enjoyed browsing the People’s Choice Festival in our town of Boalsburg. Katie always finds something to add to our home decor there.

In another tradition since 1999 on campus, Penn State astronomy students and faculty invite the public to join them on the rooftop observatory at the Davey Laboratory. Talk about out of this world! I tried to locate the Atlantis space shuttle up there but got distracted by all the stars.

As you can see – whether through a telescope or not – Happy Valley was more colorful than the fall leaves on a football weekend. As much as I am looking forward to the 2011 PSU football season ahead, this past weekend was the winner of this summer.


Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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