After a hiatus of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts returns to the streets of downtown State College and the adjacent Penn State campus as an in person event from July 13 to July 17.
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, Street Painting, educational opportunities, music, dance and theatrical performances in a variety of outdoor and indoor venues.
The 56th Arts Festival commences with Children and Youth Day sponsored by Penn State Health on Wednesday, July 13, 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 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 2022 Centre Daily Times Children and Youth Day Grand Procession. Over 100 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 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the State College Presbyterian Church. This year’s event will be under the direction of Gary Brubaker and Jim Kerhin otherwise known as Picker and Papa, with special guests The Orpheus Singers. Formed in May 2012 by Dr. Christopher Kiver, the Orpheus Singers is an auditioned chamber choir comprising community members and students at Penn State University. It will be a fun evening of traditional songs, folk melodies, camp songs, and perhaps a Broadway number or two.
On Thursday, July 14, 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 four jurors will award over $17,500 in prize money to winning exhibitors during a ceremony at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, at the Allen Street Stage.
The 2022 Street Painting exhibition recognizes the cross-border popularity of street painting among Italy, England, and Germany. A variety of 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, sponsored by Sheetz, 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 56th Festival by purchasing tickets to the Festive Spirits benefit party, which will be held at The Towers, 403 South Allen Street, on Friday, July 15, 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 Invested Advisors, Big Spring Spirits, Higher Ed Jobs, Fulton Bank, RE/MAX Centre Realty-Tom Cali, Tracy Wagner & McKenzie Millward, Investment Research Partners, The Hartman Group, Shy Bear Brewing, Avant Garden, Continental Real Estate, and JR Mangan. Tickets to the party can be purchased by calling the Arts Festival office or by visiting arts-festival.com/festive-spirits-party.
An annual favorite, the CPFA Silent Auction, will be returning again this year. The 2022 Silent Auction will be in its traditional spot on the 100 block of South Allen Street. The Silent Auction opens on Thursday, July 14 at noon. It is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It’s a great place to see a sampling of all the great fine art and craft in the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition. Proceeds of the Silent Auction help to defray the costs of the Festival.
The Festival’s fine art exhibition, Images 2022 hangs in Schlow Centre Region Library, 211 S. Allen Street during the month of July. Images 2022 is open to artists whose primary residence is in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Artists entered the show by submitting digital images of work created in the last three years. The works in Images have been selected by jurors Steve Getz and Carol Ann Simon Cillo of the Clinton County Arts Council in Lock Haven.
Schlow Library’s BookFestPA 2022: Comics to Cozies will take place on Saturday, July 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the in the library’s parking lot as a celebration of the story as art for all ages. Diehard fans of mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, comics, children’s fiction & poetry will all find something to like. Meet authors and artists who work for large publishing houses, as well as independents who forge their own path. Stop by the authors’ tents to meet returning favorites as well as authors visiting for the first time!
Performances at the Allen Street Stage open on Thursday, July 14 with a set by The Quasi Quintet. The Quasi Quintet is a local young jazz band featuring some of State High’s best and brightest up and coming musicians. Their repertoire features jazz standards and their own original jazz compositions. Featuring Lake Black, the Hallacher brothers, Elijah Snyder, and Nick Letwin, with vocalist Nora Goudie. The band is making its Festival debut.
For over 25 years, The Kinsey Sicks have served up a feast of music and comedy to audiences throughout the US and internationally! Their phenomenal performance record includes an Off-Broadway show, an extended run in Vegas, two feature films and three concert DVDs, ten albums, and appearances in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia. The Kinsey Sicks’ award-winning a cappella singing, sharp political satire, and over-the-top drag have earned them a diverse and devoted following. The Kinsey Sicks performs at The State Theatre, 130 West College Avenue at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 14. Tickets are $29.00
Simply put: The Rhythm Future Quartet will knock your socks off. Anointed as successors to the legacy of the great Django Reinhardt by The Wall Street Journal, the acoustic jazz ensemble, Rhythm Future Quartet has a straightforward agenda: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and expanding. The virtuosic foursome is led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli. The band performs at The State Theatre, 130 West College Avenue, Friday, July 15, at 8:00 p.m. CPFA Performance Wristband Required
Happy Valley Improv is State College’s premier longform improv company, bringing the art of improvisation to Centre County through performances, classes, workshops, and community outreach. Started by four improvisers in the basement of a church in early 2017, the group now consists of seventeen company members performing a variety of improv styles and forms at their new home in Calder Way, The Blue Brick Theatre. Shows are at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16. Audience members at the 10:00 p.m. shows must be over 21 years old. CPFA Performance Wristband Required
Since moving to New York City from California in 2003, Molly Ryan has become one of the most sought-after vocalists on the New York jazz scene. She has performed at such prestigious Manhattan venues as the Café Carlyle, The Town Hall, The Waldorf Astoria, Rainbow Room and Birdland. She brings her attractive, elegant vocal style to songs originally recorded by singers such as Peggy Lee, Helen Ward, Martha Tilton, and Helen Forrest. Molly’s silvery voice and lush, elegant vocal style evoke the big band singers of the 1930s and breathe new life into familiar old standards.
The Molly Ryan Swingtet perform at the Allen Street Stage, Saturday, July 16, at 1:30 p.m. and again at 7:00 p.m. in Sidney Friedman Park.
The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is the world’s only year-round, professional ensemble playing the syncopated sounds of early musical theater, silent cinema, and vintage dance. At this year’s Festival, they’ll accompany The Mark of Zorro, a 1920 silent adventure romance film starring Douglas Fairbanks and Noah Beery Sr. This genre-defining swashbuckler adventure was the first movie version of The Mark of Zorro and is based on the 1919 story The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley, which introduced the masked hero, Zorro.
The film tells the story of Don Diego Vega, the outwardly foppish son of a wealthy ranchero in early 19th century Spanish California. Seeing the mistreatment of the peons by rich landowners and the oppressive government, Don Diego, who is not as effete as he pretends, has taken the identity of the masked Robin Hood-like rogue Señor Zorro (“Mr. Fox”), a champion of the people, who appears out of nowhere to protect them from the corrupt administration of Governor Alvarado and his henchmen. Don’t miss this silent classic at The State Theatre, Saturday, July 16 at 8:00 p.m. CPFA Performance Wristband Required
The Raleigh Ringers is an internationally acclaimed, advanced community handbell choir based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since its founding in 1990, The Raleigh Ringers has been dazzling concert audiences with unique interpretations of sacred and secular music, including famous rock ‘n’ roll tunes arranged just for handbells. Under the direction of Penn State alum David M. Harris, The Raleigh Ringers has released seven CDs, and two DVDs of holiday concerts. The group has performed in 39 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the UK, and France during its tours. The group performs at Penn State’s Music Recital Hall, Allen Road, on the Penn State campus, Saturday, July 16 at 8:00 p.m. CPFA Performance Wristband Required
In 1993 jazz musician and Presbyterian pastor Bill Carter formed the Presbybop Quartet with Al Hamme, his college music professor from Binghamton University. With the core lineup of drummer Ron Vincent and bassist Tony Marino, the band has evolved into a consort of musicians who have been turning heads on the musical scene. Based in northeastern Pennsylvania, Bill’s ensemble has presented concerts and jazz worship services in churches and venues around the country. The Presbybop Quartet performs at the State College Presbyterian Church, Saturday, July 16 at 9:00 p.m. CPFA Performance Wristband Required
While most performances are free, some require a festival wristband. Wristbands are $15.00 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. Wristbands are available at each performance venue, at many locations on the Festival route, and in downtown State College stores.
This year, the Festival has partnered with the Central Pennsylvania Tasting trail, which will present a craft beverage expo in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, from Thursday, July 14 through Saturday, July 16, from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day. Fifteen Centre County distilleries, wineries, breweries, and cideries are participating. There is a $10 cover charge to enjoy beverage tastings and the opportunity to purchase local craft beverages.
Daily highlights include:
Wednesday, July 13 – Children & Youth Day Sponsored by Penn State Health: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Children’s Activities (Old Main Lawn and Sidney Friedman Park)
Centre Daily Times Children & Youth Day Grand Procession, 4:00 p.m. (Old Main Lawn)
Pat Farrell Community Sing Along, 7:30 p.m. (State College Presbyterian Church) Sponsored by Foxdale Retirement Community
Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Sponsored by Penn State Federal Credit Union.
Thursday, July 14 – Mark DeRose & the Dreadnoughts, 6:30 p.m. (Sidney Friedman Park Stage)
The Kinsey Sicks, 8:30 p.m. (The State Theatre)
BC Blue, 8:30 p.m. (Festival Shell Stage)
Cass and the Bailout Crew, 9:00 p.m. (Allen Street Stage)
Friday, July 15 – Rampart Street Ramblers, 4:00 p.m. (Festival Shell Stage)
Joe Baione Trio, 4:30 p.m. (Sidney Friedman Park Stage)
Ted McCloskey and the Hi-Fi’s, 5:30 p.m. (Allen Street Stage)
Deb Callahan, 6:30 p.m. (Festival Shell Stage)
Essence II Ltd., 8:00 p.m. (State College Presbyterian Church)
Rhythm Future Quartet, 8:00 p.m. (The State Theatre)
The Gill Street Band, 9:30 p.m. (Sidney Friedman Park Stage)
Saturday, July 16 – Sidewalk Sale Award Ceremony, 9:00 a.m. (Allen Street Stage)
Cormorant’s Fancy, 2:30 p.m. (Festival Shell Stage)
Feinberg Brothers, 7:00 p.m. (Festival Shell Stage)
Jon Rounds and Special Guests Glenn Kidder and Randy Hughes, 7:30 p.m. (St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church)
Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet, 9:00 p.m. (State College Presbyterian Church)
Velveeta, 9:30 p.m. (Festival Shell Stage)
My Hero Zero, 9:30 p.m. (Allen Street Stage)
Sunday, July 17 – Altoona Brass Collective, 11:30 a.m. (Sidney Friedman Park Stage)
David Zentner & The Nashville Music Company, 12:30 p.m. (Festival Shell Stage)
Bellefonte Community Band, 2:00 p.m. (Sidney Friedman Park Stage)
RIFF, 2:30 p.m. (Allen Street Stage)
The Nittany Valley Running Club is not presenting the Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival Races this year.
We encourage visitors to use Penn State’s West Parking Deck on White Course Drive near the IST Building and use free bus service to get to and from the event. Parking is $1/hour for the first two hours and $10 for between two and ten hours, cash and credit cards accepted. Free bus service will be available from the West Parking Deck to the center of the Festival at the corner of College Avenue and 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 additional grant support from the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau and Centre County Commissioners.