It's Summer Fest Time!
Happy Valley has a not-so-secret side that comes out during the summer. While the rest of the year revolves around students, football, and street construction, there’s a brief few weeks during the summer when State College and the surrounding areas bring out live music and canopy tents to showcase our creative side.
While some of these festivals have been around for decades, others are holding their inaugural events this year. In either case, there’s something for everyone.
Wing Fest at Tussey Mountain
Thursday nights, July-August; tusseymountain.com/wingfest
Thursdays nights are the new Saturday night when it comes to live music and great food in Happy Valley! For an entry fee of $5 per evening (kids are free), guests can sample wings from the best local restaurants and vote for their favorite wings in this seven-week competition. Even if you’re not into wings (and why wouldn’t you be?), there are plenty of other food vendors from Rita’s Water Ice to Doans Bones BBQ. In addition to the nightly live entertainment, Tussey’s summertime fun activities are also open, including min-golf and the batting cages. It’s a great night for family fun that leads to the all-important crowning of Tussey Mountain Wing King.
Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
July 12-16; arts-festival.com
While it goes without saying that the art exhibits and sidewalk sale is the main attraction, the Fest has also developed a devoted following for it’s special events, like the Italian street painting on Hiester Street and the 25-ton sand scultpure that appears as a work in progress in the Sidney Friedman Park. The week kicks off with the Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale, which invites budding artists and future business people to show off their talents (and make a little profit) on Wednesday, July 12.
For alumni traveling in for Arts Fest, Penn State opens its dorm doors for the weekend. The annual Arts Festival Alumni Weekend invites guests to stay in West Halls and includes exclusive access to private events (pre-registration is required through the Penn State Alumni Association).
Don’t Miss: A favorite tradition for many Fest-goers, the Pat Farrell Community Sing lets people of all ages and singing backgrounds join their voices together in Broadway tunes, campfire songs, and folk music. And look for artist Hannah Clarke. Hailing from Allison Park, Pa., Hannah paints beautifiul images of fairy tale-type creatures with rich backgrounds and intricate story lines.
People’s Choice Festival
July 13-17; peopleschoicefestival.com
Now in its 25th year, the People’s Choice features artists from a dozen disciplines along with a petting zoo, bounce house, and wine tastings. Full of high-quality, reasonably-priced art work in a walkable location that can be taken in during an afternoon.
Don’t Miss: Pennsylvania wines. Seven vineyards will be appearing at this year’s People’s Choice, including local favorites like the Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery and Seven Mountains Wine Cellar. Check out the relatively new U Freeze Wine Slush, based in Port Matilda, which sells wine that’s refreshingly cool and combines unique flavors like peaches and chocolate.
July 15; schlowlibrary.org
In the middle of Arts Fest, Book Fest at Schlow Library showcases local authors. Local writers like Jason Lenox (Lords of the Cosmos), Denise Kaminsky (the Nittany Lion book series), and Sarah K. Stephens (A Flash of Red) will meet with readers to discuss their craft.
Don't Miss: Jodi Moore. A Boalsburg-native, Jodi is the brainchild behind the award-winning When a Dragon Moves In series. She’s also the author of Good News Nelson, about a young boy who changes his neighborhood through his paperwork.
Bellefonte Arts & Craft Fair
August 11-12; Bellefontefair.org
Rounding out the summer festival season is the Bellefonte Arts & Craft Fair featuring regional artists, children’s events, and food vendors all circled around Spring Creek and the gazebo of Talleyrand. While you’re there, explore the shops of downtown Bellefonte just a block away from the festival.
Don’t Miss: The fair food. Scott’s Roasting has been a long-time fair favorite. Featuring their own farm-raised pork (“We raise them...we roast them”), they’re easy to spot from anywhere in the festival – just look for the long line. After a BBQ sandwich, you can cool off with many of the summer-time staples like fresh lemonade, ice cream, and milkshakes.