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Arts Fest a 'Homecoming' for State College Community

by on July 05, 2014 1:00 PM

The 48th annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will begin later this week, and for thousands of people, it's the impetus for a yearly pilgrimage back to State College.

"Because we're 48 years old it sort of has a personality of it's own, part of that is the reunion aspect of it. People get together with old friends, or you have company, and people come back to Penn State. ... It's sort of a homecoming," says Rick Bryant, executive director for the event. "I think that's what makes it special. Plus it's a chance to see 300 of the best artists, to hear lots of free music downtown and ... step out of your ordinary life."

Founded by the State College Chamber of Commerce and Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture, the event, affectionately known as Arts Fest, draws roughly 100,000 visitors.  This year's festival will be held July 9 through July 13 in downtown State College.

It will feature a nationally-recognized Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, a juried gallery exhibition, Children and Youth Day, the Downtown State College Italian Street Painting Festival, educational opportunities, music, dance and theatrical performances in a variety of outdoor and indoor venues.

Arts Fest begins July 9 with Children and Youth Day, which features programs and events specifically designed for young people. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale, sponsored by Penn State Federal Credit Union, will be held on South Allen Street. Roughly 175 young artists are expected to showcase their works.

The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 10 through July 12 and noon to 5 p.m. July 13. More than 300 artists will display their work. A panel of five jurors will award more than $17,000 in prize money starting at 9 a.m. July 12 at the Allen Street stage.

A silent auction will be held in the 100 block of South Allen Street. It opens at noon July 10 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Proceeds go toward the festival's operational costs.

Along with art exhibits, there will be a variety of performances including The Blind Spots, a rock band from Ithaca, N.Y., which will perform at 10 p.m. July 11 at the Festival Shell Stage.

Most performances are free events, however, some events require a $10 button, which can be purchased at many downtown State College businesses or by clicking HERE.

The Nittany Valley Running Club's 39th annual 10K, 5K, and 10 mile run also coincide with the festival beginning at 8:15 a.m. July 13. For more information, click HERE.

For more information, including a schedule of events, click HERE.

"We do have something for every taste and pocket book. ... It's just a fun way to spend a day or two so you won't regret it in the slightest," says Bryant.

Funding for The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts includes grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors' Bureau and Centre County Commissioners.


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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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