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Budding Artists Take Center Stage at Arts Fest

by on July 10, 2014 6:30 AM

Wednesday in State College was a day all about the kids.

Allen Street was a sea of colors and smiling faces, marking the official start of Arts Fest.

Everywhere you looked, children were there: some performed on stage, some ate funnel cakes on the sidewalk, while others ran through a fog-shrouded misting booth to cool off from the heat.

There were children who came with parents and siblings, as well as some who came with camp and school groups. The sidewalks were packed with people, young and old, throughout the morning and afternoon.

Several thousand people showed up for the Children and Youth Day, which kicked off the 48th annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in downtown State College. The day featured programs and events specifically designed for young people.

"It's a very low impact way to introduce kids to the arts," says Rick Bryant, executive director of the festival. "There are a million and one sports opportunities, especially here in the Centre region, for kids and the arts are not as available. This is a way to introduce kids to making art."

The day even allowed children to be entrepreneurs. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale was held on South Allen Street, where about 175 young artists displayed and sold their works.

Children sold a wide array of homemade items, including pillows, bracelets, chalk, picture frames, ribbons, flip flops and hats. One young boy even showed off his pet rocks, calling out to passersby asking them to purchase one.

Ariana Schinder, 13, set up a tent to open "Ariana's Bow-tique." A single bow was sold for $2 or customers could buy 3 for $5.

Armed with a glue gun and a book of fabrics, Ariana was ready to make some money. Wearing a flowered shirt with a bow in her long blonde hair, she allowed customers to pick out their favorite fabric so she could make a bow on the spot. Within 5 minutes, the job is done.

"I'm really girly so I wanted to sell something girly," Ariana says. "I always see girls with bows in their hair. They're really in right now."

The young fashionista says the firework fabric has sold better than any other. She made about $20 during the first few hours of the festival.

This is Ariana's fifth year participating in the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale, although she says she was more successful a few years ago when she sold clay pigs. Last year, Ariana says, she did not sell much when she offered paper dolls.

"This year I wanted to make money while expressing my personality," Ariana says. "That's why I chose bows."

Although Ariana still has a lot of time to figure out what she wants to do with her career, she says she hasn't ruled out business. In fact, she says it's in her top 10 list of possible careers, behind becoming a pop star, of course.

Her father, Paul, sat in the back of Ariana's tent and watched. He says he's proud of his daughter for doing this every year.

"I'm glad they have this day every Arts Fest," says Schinder, of Boalsburg. "It gives her the chance to come up with a good idea, and she can make some money."

Down the street from Ariana, Lydia Tack, 11, sold homemade greeting cards for $2 each. Her aunt gave her colorful paper, which she used to make the cards. 

It took months for Lydia to complete the cards but she says she enjoyed making them. "I like that so many of us get to show off our artistic skills each Arts Fest," Lydia says.

This is Lydia's second year participating in the sidewalk sale. Last year, she sold pillows, which she says were more popular than the greeting cards.

The remaining days of the festival will show off art from the professionals.

The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. More than 300 artists will display their work.

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.

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

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Photo Gallery - Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale

Photo Gallery -



Jessica Tully recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in journalism and political science. She is a frequent contributor to StateCollege.com and has also reported for USA TODAY, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
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