State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

New and Traditional Elements Expected in Annual 4th Fest

by on June 29, 2014 10:45 AM

The Fourth of July holiday is just a few days away, and this year's celebration will blend new and traditional elements for the 4th Fest in State College.

The day kicks off at 9 a.m. with the Firecracker 4k race that drew roughly 1,200 participants last year.

The route will be new due to construction on campus. This year the race will be starting on Curtin Road -- runners will heading west to Big Hollow Road and back.

The third annual Parade of Heroes will start at the State College Municipal Building at 2 p.m. featuring community heroes nominated by local residents. The parade route will travel through downtown State College, across University Park and end at Dickinson Law School.

This year's theme is "Let Freedom Ring," and bell ringing will be incorporated to the start of the parade. Organizers are asking all churches in the State College area to ring their church bells at 2 p.m. to coincide with the start of the Independence Day event.

Throughout the afternoon up until 9 p.m. there will be family-friendly activities, including lumberjack shows, BMX bike and rollerblade events, hot air balloon rides (weather permitting) and musical performances at three different stages. This year, the main stage will be at a new location, Lot 44, due to construction. For an event map, click HERE.

The event will also offer a plethora of children's activities as the goal is to encourage parents to bring their kids, according to event director Bernie Keisling.

"People thoroughly enjoy all of the kids' activities we have going on at the Fourth Fest. That's really what it's meant to be, family-friendly in every sense of the word," says Keisling.

At the end of the day, the majority of folks come out to the event for the 45-minute fireworks display. Keisling says the best way to enjoy the show is in the VIP viewing area, which is available to anyone who purchases a ticket. Last year, roughly 6,000 people watched the display from the VIP area on the east side of Porter Road.

"That is the way to see the fireworks show. You see the ground effects. You see the graphic displays. You don't just see the aerials. ... When you're in the VIP viewing area you get to have the full experience where all the magic that happens," says Keisling.

For VIP ticket information, click HERE.

For parking information, click HERE.

The 4th Fest is organized by Central Pennsylvania July 4, Inc., a non-profit organization. Roughly 600 volunteers and 220 sponsors will contribute to this year's event.

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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