Alternative Places to Watch 4th Fest Fireworks
Thousands of people will converge on the area around Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center to watch the annual 4th Fest fireworks show on Thursday night, but not everyone wants to brave those big crowds. It can be a mob scene. And trying to get out of the parking lot after the show is sometimes a textbook case of gridlock. But you have some other options.
We've come up with alternate viewing areas around State College for those who are looking for a more intimate celebration.
Dalevue Park -- This park in Lemont features a large hill where people gather to watch the fireworks. "This is usually my spot," says Julia Brown. "It's not too far away and I really like watching from atop the hill." To get there: Take East Branch Road and turn onto Goldfrinch Drive (just off the bridge over the Route 322 bypass). Follow Goldfinch until it ends at Daleview Park.
Whitehill and Warwick Streets -- This residential area in Lemont provides a great view of the fireworks. "I've watched the show every 4th of July from here for years," says resident George Hunter. "It feels as if you're right on top of the action." This is an elevated area that overlooks Beaver Stadium. To get there: From College Avenue, turn onto Elmwood Street. At the traffic light, cross Pike Street onto the Boalsburg Road. Take the first left onto Whitehill Street and drive up the hill.
Meyer Dairy Store -- Who doesn’t like ice cream on the 4th of July? Meyer Dairy is at 2390 S. Atherton Street, just a few miles away from Penn State’s campus. The store remains open until 11 p.m. so you can grab some ice cream before and after the fireworks. Large crowds often congregate here. Owner Joe Meyer says "Sometimes people stand two or three deep to watch the fireworks."
Walker Drive -- Walker Drive runs parallel to the Route 322 bypass and offers great sight lines to the Beaver Stadium area. It's a popular viewing spot. Be aware that businesses along Walker Drive reserve their parking lots for employees and are not open to the public. Also, Walker Drive is marked "no parking" so you'll have to get here on foot. To get there: From the borough, take East College Avenue. Just after you cross over the Route 322 bypass, turn left onto Walker Drive. The best viewing areas are about half-a-mile down the road.
University Park Airport -- About five minutes away from the site of the show, this is a less crowded area that will still provide fairly clear sight lines. The airport is located at 2535 Fox Hill Road, and people in past years have parked along the side of the road to view the show.
One place to avoid is the arboretum on Penn State's campus. While it may seem convenient since it's close to Beaver Stadium, arboretum officials say they do not permit anyone in the area after dark for safety reasons and potential damage to plants. Those who try to watch the fireworks from there will be told to leave and find another spot.
For those who want to be close to the action, a viewing map can be found by clicking HERE.
If you have a favorite alternative place to watch that we missed, be sure to let us know!