Festival Banner (the Arts Festival blog)

Sidewalk Sale 2015The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts once again ranked first on the list of 100 Best Fine Art and Design Shows in America published by Sunshine Artist magazine.  The twenty-third annual poll, published in the September 2015 issue of Sunshine Artist, is based on sales totals reported by exhibitors at the 2014 festival. Sunshine Artist is America’s premier art show and festival guide.

This is the second time the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition has reached the list’s top spot. It reached the top spot in 2013, though fell to third place last year. The event hasn’t been ranked lower than fifth since 2009.

Shows rounding out the top five were: One of a Kind Show & Sale, Chicago; Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Denver; La Quinta Arts Festival, La Quinta, CA; and the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Winter Park, FL. The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition is in esteemed company!

“We’re delighted by this news, but not surprised given our remarkable staff, our array of talented artists, and our dedicated festival-goers. This ranking inspires us to continue to put on the best arts festival possible, particularly as we prepare for our 50th festival in July 2016,” noted Joyce Robinson, the board president of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. (As in my boss.)

When strangers at my college reunion act as if I operate a Ferris Wheel for a living, I like to point out to them that the Festival is a quintessential part of the Penn State experience. I’m proud that our audience comes to buy real art, hear a wide variety of great music, see friends, and enjoy a vibrant college town experience. And, if they’re still listening, I remind them that while I’ve had a lessons in making cotton candy, I don’t know a thing about operating a Ferris Wheel.

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, known to artists across the country as “the Penn State show” was founded in 1967 by Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture and what was then known as the State College Chamber of Commerce. The Festival has grown to encompass, in addition to the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, Children and Youth Day, a juried gallery exhibition, a banner competition, the Downtown State College Italian Street Painting Festival, and a wide variety of performances on outdoor and indoor stages. Approximately 125,000 people visit the Festival each year–we do a an audience survey, it’s not just a made up number. The Festival also produces First Night State College, a family-friendly New Year’s community New Year’s celebration.

I don’t know how we’ll improve on our number one ranking for the 50th Festival next year, but we’re going to give it the good old (State) college try!.