Arts Fest Is Back. Here's What to Know –


The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will take place July 13-17, 2022 in downtown State College and on the Penn State campus. File photo by Geoff Rushton |
After a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts returns in-person this week for its 56th year.
The annual event, which typically draws 125,000 people to downtown State College and the Penn State campus, kicks off on Wednesday with Children and Youth Day and continues through Sunday with hundreds of artists at the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, entertainment at indoor and outdoor venues, festival food vendors and more.
Here’s a guide to what’s happening, from new features to traditional favorites and everything you need to know.
New this year, visitors are encouraged to park at Penn State’s one-year-old West Parking Deck on White Course Drive (off of North Atherton Street) and use free bus service or walk to get to and from the festival. Parking is $1 per hour for the first two hours and $10 for between two and 10 hours. Free bus service will run between the deck and the festival center at College Avenue and Allen Street:
• Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
• Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
• Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Parking in downtown State College at the Fraser Street, West Beaver Avenue and Pugh Street municipal garages is $2.25 per hour during the festival.
On campus, parking is also available at the Nittany Deck, near the Nittany Lion Inn. No bus service is offered from here, but the deck is about a five-minute walk from the campus portion of the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition.
The traditional Arts Festival buttons are replaced this year with wristbands, which provide admission on a first-come, first-served basis to select performances. Children 12 and under are admitted for free with a wristband-wearing adult.
Wristbands are $15 and can be purchased at performance venues, festival information and sales booths and at numerous businesses in State College. Proceeds from the wristbands provide support that helps make the festival possible.
Children and Youth Day
The festival kicks off on Wednesday with a day of programs and events for kids. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale will feature more than 250 young artists and crafters showcasing and selling their work on South Allen Street.
Other activities include music and dance performances on the festival shell stage (Old Main Lawn) and Allen Street stage, as well as improv comedy at the Blue Brick Theatre, arts and crafts activities on Old Main Lawn and in Sidney Friedman Park. Old Main Lawn will also feature hands-on science activities, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center teaching about local fauna, a display from the Penn State All-Sports Museum, 4-H members with seeing-eye puppies in training and WPSU with space-themed activities.
On South Allen Street, Alpha Fire Company firefighters and State College police officers will be on hand with their trucks and cars for kids to get an up-close look, and Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority will share information on the importance of recycling.
At 4 p.m., the Children and Youth Day Procession steps off with an array of puppets, masks, drums and banners, along with musicians from State College Area High School, making their way from Old Main Lawn to Sidney Friedman Park. All ages are invited to participate and distribution of procession pieces begins at 3:15 p.m.
A Centred Outdoors guided exploration of public art in downtown State College will begin at 6 p.m. at 3 Dots, 137 East Beaver Ave.
The day concludes with the Pat Farrell Community Singalong at 7:30 p.m. at State College Presbyterian Church 132 W. Beaver Ave.
See Wednesday’s full entertainment schedule.
Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition
The work of more than 300 exhibitors will be featured during the renowned Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday downtown and on campus. Art on display and for sale will include baskets, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, painting, photography and wearable art. The juried show also will award award more than $17,500 in prize money to winning exhibitors during a ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Allen Street Stage.
“Images 2022” the festival’s juried fine art exhibition featuring Pennsylvania artists, is also on display in Schlow Centre Region Library throughout July and the gallery can be viewed online.
Street Painting
An evolving annual tradition, local visual artists will create 6-foot by 4-foot paintings on Foster Avenue at South Allen Street. For a $5 fee, Young Artists Alley will give children the opportunity to create a 14-inch by 14-inch square street painting. Painting ends at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, weather permitting.
The festival is filled with performances throughout town and on campus. Music will include local, regional and national acts performing rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, big band, funk, sould, doo-wop, country and blues. You’ll also find improv comedy from Happy Valley Improv, a poetry reading, a performance by the State High Thespians, and morning relaxation with 9 a.m. yoga in Sidney Friedman Park
Venues include:
• Allen Street Stage, 100 block of South Allen Street
• Festival Shell, Old Main Lawn
• Willard Building Plaza, Penn State campus
• Sidney Friedman Park, 241 S. Fraser St.
• Blue Brick Theatre, 209 W. Calder Way
• The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave.
• State College Municipal Building, 243 S. Allen St.
• State College Presbyterian Church, 132 W. Beaver Ave.
• Penn State Recital Hall, Allen Road on Penn State campus
• Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, 100 block of South Fraser Street (during Craft Beverage Expo)
See the full entertainment schedule.
Festival Food
Food vendors will be stationed downtown and on campus. New this year, be sure to check out Penn State Berkey Creamery’s special Festival Fudge flavor at the stand near Old Main or at the Creamery on Curtin Road.
Allen and Calder Way
• Miller’s Tropical Sno (Bellefonte) – shaved ice
• The Tuckerbox (Alexandria) – Australian meat pies
Allen and Highland
• Chan’s Golden Gate (Pittsburgh) – egg rolls, chicken on a stick, lo mein, fried rice, gyros, Greek salad, corndogs, sausage sandwich, fries, lemonade
Food Truck Court
Memorial Field Parking Lot
• Bees Knees Coffee (Bellefonte)
• Bonnie Blue’s Smokeys and Sweets (Bellefonte)
• Brazilian Munchies (Bellefonte) – a real taste of Brazil
• Everything About Crepes (Franklin Lakes, N.J.)
• Funnel Cake Kings (State College)
• Hellenic Kouzina Mobile Kitchen (Mechanicsburg, Va.)
Allen and Nittany
• Backwoods Smoke Shack (James Creek) – smoked barbecue brisket, smoked mac and cheese and more
• Heeter’s Ice Cream Truck (Danville)
• Moody Culture Kombucha (State College)
• We Be Cheesin’ (Selinsgrove) – gourmet grilled cheese
Sidney Friedman Park
Hanson’s Kettle Korn (Tarentum) – kettle popcorn and shaved ice
Maine Bay & Berry (State College) – crab cakes and lobster rolls
Old Main Mall
Penn State Berkey Creamery
Fraser & Pollock Roads
The Rolling Lion Food Truck – Beef and chicken tacos, chips and salsa
Regional Favorites, a marketplace of artisinal food products, will also feature select exhibitors selling products for visitors to take home during the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition hours at the intersection of South Allen Street and Foster Avenue. Vendors include:
• TorchBearer Sauces (Mechanicsburg)
• Bevvy’s Gourmet (Harrisburg)
• Hillbillys Beef Jerkey (Ft. Loudon)
• Saint Rocco’s Treats (Perkasie)
• Scentual Aroma Inc. (Staten Island, N.Y.)
• Seven Barrels  (Tuxedo Park, N.Y.)
Craft Beverage Expo
A new addition in 2022, the festival is teaming up with the Central PA Tasting Trail to offer a taste of locally produced craft beverages. From 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the MLK Plaza on Fraser Street, patrons age 21 with proper identification can pay $10 to to sample and purchase drinks by the glass from a rotating cast of Tasting Trail member businesses.
• Exhibitors: Axemann Brewery, Big Spring Spirits, Good Intent Cider, Happy Valley Vineyard, Mount Nittany Winery and Vineyard.
• Entertainment: Acoustic Artifacts (2 p.m.), Hops & Vines (4 p.m.)
• Exhibitors: Barrel 21 Distillery, Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks, Keewaydin Cider Mill, Otto’s Pub and Brewery, Seven Mountains Wine Cellars
• Entertainment: Randall Williams (2:30 p.m.), The Extra Miles (4:30 p.m.)
• Exhibitors: 814 Cider Works, Big Spring Spirits, Pisano Winery, Robin Hood Brewery, University Wine Company
• Entertainment: The Extra Miles (2:30 p.m.), Ted & Molly (4:30 p.m.)
Speaking of spirits, the Festive Spirits benefit party will be held at 5 p.m. Friday at The Towers, 403 S. Allen St. Tickets are $125 and the event will include locally sourced drinks from Bellefonte’s Big Spring Spirits, hors d’oeuvres provided by Catering with Style by Dan Rallis and music by acoustic duo Anchor & Arrow.
The celebration of the the story as art for all ages returns from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Schlow Centre Region Library parking lot. Meet returning authors and artists and those visiting for the first time, from large publishing houses to independents, and pick up books from myriad genres for all ages.
A costume contest invites visitors to come dressed as their favorite book characters, with check-in at 1 p.m. and prizes awarded at 2 p.m.
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