About Us

To many people the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (the Festival, or CPFA) is something that “just happens” each summer. School lets out for the summer, and in what seems like the blink of an eye, the Festival is upon us. Landscapers, stage hands, musicians, artists, and volunteers all appear – and in their wake both State College and the Penn State campus are alive with visitors. Approximately 125,000 people visit the Festival each year.

Of course, the Festival, doesn’t “just happen”. It’s the result of a lot of hard work by more than a few people.

Founded in 1967 by the State College Chamber of Commerce and Penn State University’s College of Arts and Architecture in an effort to bring the arts and commerce to the area, the CPFA is an independent, not-for-profit corporation.

In the years since the first festival, it has evolved to encompass the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, performances on outdoor and indoor stages, a banner competition, Children & Youth Day, a juried gallery exhibition, and the Italian Street Painting Festival. The Festival assists the Nittany Valley Running Club in presenting the Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival Races, and Schlow Centre Region Library in presenting BookFest.

A volunteer Board of Directors of representatives of the State College and Penn State communities establishes Festival policy. There are three full-time professional staff members. More than 500 volunteers help make the Festival a reality each year.

CPFA also produces First Night State College, an arts-centric, family oriented, alcohol-free celebration of the New Year’s holiday. First Night State College features one of Pennsylvania’s largest displays of ice carving, performances in downtown churches, theaters, and public buildings, resolution sculptures, a giant puppet procession, children’s activities, and a 5k Resolution Run.

CPFA receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional funding is provided through a grant made by possible by the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and the Centre County Commissioners. 

TRADEMARKS: The “Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts,” “Arts Festival,” and the logo are trademarks within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. No use of these trademarks may be made in connection with the manufacture and/or sale of merchandise without the CPFA’s express written approval.

Visit the Festival Store!

Visit our online store to buy Festival t-shirts, posters, friendship bracelets and our special jigsaw puzzle.