The 52nd annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will take place Wednesday, July 11 through Sunday, July 15 on the streets of downtown State College and the adjacent Penn State campus.
Founded by the State College Chamber of Commerce and Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture, the Festival attracts approximately 125,000 visitors each summer. The Festival features the nationally recognized Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, a juried gallery exhibition, Children and Youth Day, Italian Street Painting, educational opportunities, music, dance and theatrical performances in a variety of outdoor and indoor venues.
The 2018 Arts Festival commences with Children and Youth Day on Wednesday, July 11, which features programs and events designed especially for the young and young at heart. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the Children & Youth Sidewalk Sale, sponsored by Penn State Federal Credit Union, will be held on South Allen Street. More than 250 young Central Pennsylvania artists are expected to showcase their original works.
Other Children and Youth Day activities include free arts and crafts activities on Penn State’s Old Main Lawn and in State College’s Sidney Friedman Park. Musical and dance performances tailored to the young will take place on two stages thanks to local student ensembles and performing arts schools. However, for some, the highlight of the day will come at 4:00 p.m. with the 2018 Centre Daily Times Children and Youth Day Grand Procession. Over 300 children (accompanied by some parents) will carry small, medium and large papier-mâché puppets, masks and drums. The procession will begin on the Old Main Lawn and travel through downtown State College as it makes its way to Sidney Friedman Park.
The Pat Farrell Community Sing Along will be on Wednesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the State College Presbyterian Church. Young and old, those who can sing, and especially those who can’t carry a tune in a bucket, are invited to join Russell Bloom, Erik Clayton, and Leah Mueller as the community comes together to make some joyful noise.
Russell Bloom is the director of music at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in State College; Clayton was appointed as director of choirs at State College Area High School in 2015; Mueller is a music teacher in the State College Area School District. This year’s sing along will open with a special performance by the Nittany Valley Children’s Choir, under the baton of Lou Ann Shafer. The event is free.
On Thursday, July 12, at 10:00 a.m. the award-winning Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition will open. Sidewalk Sale hours are 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. The works of more than 300 exhibitors comprise one of the nation’s best juried fine art and craft shows. A panel of five jurors will award over $17,500 in prize money to winning exhibitors during a ceremony at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, at the Allen Street Stage.
The 2018 Italian Street Painting exhibition honors the 16th century Italian tradition of using special chalks to paint on the street. Look for the Italian Street Painting on the 100 block of Hiester Street in downtown State College. A variety of local visual artists will create 6-foot by 4-foot paintings. For a $5 fee, Young Artists Alley gives children the opportunity to create a 14”x 14” square street painting. Painting ends at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, weather permitting.
The public is invited to celebrate the 52nd Festival by purchasing tickets to the Festive Spirits benefit party, which will be held at The Towers, 403 South Allen Street, on Friday, July 13, at 5:00 p.m. Bellefonte’s Big Spring Spirits will provide locally sourced spirits, with hors d’oeuvres by Catering with Style. The Festive Spirits Party is made possible by the support of Kristen Coombs Financial Advisors, Fulton Bank, The Hartman Group, and Jodi and Al Pringle. Tickets to the party can be purchased by calling the Arts Festival office or by visiting arts-festival.com/festive-spirits-party.
The festival’s fine art exhibition, Images 2018, will hang in Schlow Centre Region Library’s Betsy Rodgers Allen Gallery, 211 S. Allen Street, during the month of July. Images 2018 is open to artists whose primary residence is in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The works in Images have been selected by juror Erin M. Coe, the Director of the Palmer Museum of Art.
The tenth annual BookFestPa will take place on Saturday, July 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m in the BookFest tent, located in the library’s parking lot. Caricature artist Seth Young will be on hand to draw your likeness and capture your personality on paper. This year more than twenty different authors will be meeting fans and signing books in the BookFest tent. For more information go to arts-festival.com/bookfest.
Named in honor of the many minor-league baseball teams that barnstorm the country, the AAA Blues Band continues that tradition, playing not for glory or wealth, but for the love of the game. Anchored by guitarist Andy Tolins’ mastery of the fretboard and deep vocals, Triple A has been slamming home runs with original and eclectic blues since 1991. The band will be joined on stage by special guest Wayne Werner. They will be performing Friday evening July 13 at 9:30 p.m. at the Allen Street Stage.
Experience Buster Keaton’s 1928 silent film hit, Steamboat Bill, Jr., accompanied by a virtual theatre organ, an instrument developed by accompanist Ben Model. The virtual theatre organ uses an assemblage of keyboards and digital technologies to bring movies by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to twenty-first century theatres. Ben Model performs in The State Theatre on Friday, July 13 at 8:30 p.m. CPFA Performance Button Required
Classical guitarist Colin Davin has emerged as one of today’s most dynamic young artists. He has performed at venues across the world, including the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, the Fridge Fringe in Dubai, and venues throughout the United States. He has even appeared as a featured musical guest on the Late Show with David Letterman alongside legendary soprano Jessye Norman. Come to the State College Presbyterian Church on Thursday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. to hear what sets him apart. CPFA Performance Button Required
State College native Joe Machi did not always plan to enter comedy. After graduating from Penn State, Joe became a customer service manager for a supermarket. It wasn’t until after a stint as a human resources assistant that he decided to try his hand at standup comedy. In 2010, he won first place in the ‘Emerging Comics’ contest at the New York Underground Comedy Festival and was also named a finalist at the New York Comedy Festival’s NY’s Funniest Person Competition. He’s done standup on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and finished 4th on Season 8 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Machi will perform on Saturday, July 14 at 10:00 p.m. in the State Theatre, 130 W. College Avenue. A ticket is required for this performance.
Louise Page is a singer/songwriter based in Memphis, TN. Her raw vocals, intricate lyrics, and piano prowess create a genre bending musical experience. She is joined by percussion, horns, and strings to lend a full, modern chamber orchestra sound to her alternative, jazz, pop, and classical original songs. Catch Louise Page on Friday, July 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the Allen Street Stage.
Pure Cane Sugar’s “assemblage of masterful melodies and haunting harmonies” have been captivating audiences since the band’s debut in 2007. Known for its fusion of acoustic, roots rock, blues and country, the readers of State College Magazine selected Pure Cane Sugar as the “Best Local Band” in 2015 and 2016. Pure Cane Sugar will perform at Festival Shell Stage on Saturday, July 14 at 7:00 p.m.
While most performances are free, some require a festival button. Buttons cost $10.00 for adults and are free for children ages twelve and under. They are good for the entire festival, and grant admission on a space available basis to selected indoor events. Buttons are available at each performance venue, at many locations on the Festival route, in downtown State College stores.
The Nittany Valley Running Club’s 42nd annual Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival Races will take place Sunday, July 15, starting at 8:15 a.m. The event comes in 5K & 10K distances. The Kids’ Fun Runs will start at 10:00 a.m. with distances of a quarter mile through a half mile for kids ages 12 and under. The Arts Festival Races are sponsored by Penn State Health. For registration and additional race information, please visit nvrun.com.
Leave parking and traffic worries to others by parking in the Jordan East parking lot, next to the Bryce Jordan Center and Beaver Stadium. For $5.00 a car, visitors may park and take a free bus operated by the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA). The bus will stop in the Festival zone at the corner of College and Hiester, with a second stop at the corner of College Avenue and South Allen Street.
The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts 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.