Have a Happy (Valley) Independence Day

By Kira Marshall-McKelvey

It’s that time of the year again — break out the grill; red, white and blue clothing; and comfortable blankets and chairs for perfect firework viewing. That’s right, it’s Independence Day in Happy Valley! This year, State College is celebrating in style with a plethora of exciting activities, events, food and, of course, our nationally recognized fireworks show. So, come celebrate our 18th annual 4th Fest, and have an unforgettable 4th of July.


4th Fest

Start your day on the right foot with our annual firecracker 4k and 4m run. Whether you’re looking for a brief jog or a more challenging run, you can join the crowd and break a sweat. Or, if running isn’t your thing, cheer the runners on from the sidelines.

For some more community pride, head over to the Municipal building to watch the annual parade. A favorite 4th fest tradition, the parade celebrates our community and honors the real-life heroes of central Pennsylvania: emergency services, community organizations, artists and others who make this town the treasure it is. This parade loops around downtown and campus and ends at the Bryce Jordan Center.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! 4th Fest offers many activities for people of all ages, including a BMX bike and rollerblade stunt show, lumberjack shows and a chance to ride a mechanical bull!

While you’re enjoying the festivities with friends and family, keep your energy up and munch on some kettle corn, sausages, snow cones and more. Don’t forget to grab a free hot dog on Curtain Road and piece of cake next to the All Sports Museum.

On to the main event: Penn State’s critically acclaimed fireworks show! Experience the glory of this choreographed show from the stadium, or for an especially spectacular show, get VIP tickets to experience the brand new ground-based special effects and a high quality sound system.


Food and Dining

Looking for a sit-down meal? State College has no shortage of delicious food! For some fine dining, visit the Dining Room at the Nittany Lion Inn. To venture outside of campus and downtown, check out Happy Valley Brewing Company. If you’re feeling some spicy Thai, walk down to a State College favorite: Cozy Thai. To wind down with a drink and a satisfying meal, try the Federal Taphouse.




If you’re coming from out of town, there’s no need to fly or drive back home right after the fireworks show. You are cordially invited to stay at one of State College’s beautiful hotels, such as the Carnegie Inn and Spa, Courtyard by Mariott or Days Inn Penn State. For a complete list of available hotels, click here. Be sure to book your room soon; you don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind festival.

So, get into the red, white and blue spirit — whether you stay the whole day or simply come and watch the fireworks show, you won’t want to miss this year’s 4th Fest.

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