We look forward to welcoming everyone for the 52nd Festival of the Arts July 12-15, 2018. Children and Youth Day will be July 11. Save the date(s)!

23 Years of Festival Memories

When the Arts Festival staff first met Lisa Watkins from Erie, PA, we knew that we had to share her story.

Lisa’s story is like many other festival-goers’ stories, really. And that’s what makes it all so very special to us.

2010 will be Lisa’s 23rd visit to Arts Festival (or the Penn State Arts Show as she calls it) and she remember each like it was yesterday.

The first? 1987 when Lisa and her mother came to visit Lisa’s sister while she was taking summer classes at Penn State.

“We loved it and have been coming ever since,” Lisa says.

Lisa has shared her love of the Festival with family and friends alike – coming for at least 2 days of the Festival each year.

She started bringing her now-22-year-old daughter to Arts Festival practically at birth. “She was at all of them until she turned 16!”

“When she was old enough,” Lisa says, “we would come down on Wednesday for Kids’ Day. It was great to see all the creative things that the kids made and sold. We also enjoyed all the live birds and reptiles on Old Main Lawn.”

While the animals may bring some people to the Festival, Lisa herself convinces others. “My old college roommate from Behrend comes up from Pittsburgh” Plus, she says, “we always run into people we haven’t seen in years, either from college days or from Erie. It’s like a reunion!”

If Lisa’s enthusiasm isn’t enough to convince friends (and strangers!) to come down to State College for Arts Festival, her purchases do the trick.

“I have bought many pairs of earrings that I continuously get compliments on,” Lisa says. “I just say they are from the Penn State arts show. Over the years we have lured women down and they just love it.”

But earrings aren’t the only purchases Lisa has made through the years. Lisa fondly remembers many of  them.

“I bought a handmade woven knit coat around 15 years ago,” she says, adding that she knows when she bought it because of a recent encounter. “Last year I saw a scarf that was the same pattern as the coat. I was so excited because I thought it was the same artist. After talking to the artist she told me that she was the weaver for the artist 15 years ago.” The scarf maker explained that the artist she had apprenticed with, the original maker of Lisa’s coat, had passed away recently. “That coat is extra special now,” Lisa shares.

Special memories abound as Lisa recalls favorite memories of breakfast at The Diner (and taking Stickies home with her to eat throughout the year), buying stuffed animals at The Animal Kingdom, listening to music while sitting on a blanket eating Peachy Paterno.

With so many years of memories, how does Lisa sum up her love for Arts Festival?

“We love the art!!” Lisa exclaims. “Each year there are different things. It’s great talking to the artist who come from all over the U.S.”

“We have so many happy memories,” Lisa recalls. “I hope that when I have grandkids we will continue to make it a tradition.”

We hope so, too, Lisa.

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