It's almost time for the 52nd annual Festival of the Arts. From July 12-15, downtown State College will transform back into the festival that features some of our favorite...
Happy Valley Festival Lineup
Looking for something to do this summer, either during your weekends as a local or on a specific date when you’ll be in town? Luckily for you (and all of us!), Happy Valley’s calendar is chock‑full of fun festivals all summer long. There’s barely a day without something exciting to do.
Whatever your interest or age, there’s sure to be at least one festival on this list that catches your eye. From authentic Irish food to extreme fireworks displays, artwork to wings, we’ve got festivals for it all.
When: June 22
Where: Tussey Mountain
This celebration of Irish, Scottish and Welsh food, music, drink and games is a great way to have fun this summer. Spend the evening trying out traditional activities like the Stone Throw, Caber Toss and Tug‑of‑War. Enjoy some authentic food including Shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, Dublin coddle and grilled corned beef. Several Irish‑style ales will also be available for the over‑21 crowd.
Not sure if Celtic jams and fare are your scene? You’ll never know until you try! Tickets are available for $10 in advance or $15 at the door. For $35, you can partake in a whiskey tasting, for an even better experience, trying the authentic Irish whiskeys with no need to cross the pond. A good time is guaranteed for all.
Central PA Theatre and Dance Fest
When: June 22‑24
Where: Downtown State College
Prepare to celebrate the performing arts with more than 20 companies participating in the first annual Central PA Theatre and Dance Fest.
Mainstage performances include “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” put on by FUSE Productions and “Poe: Deep Into That Darkness” put on by Tempest Productions. There will also be improvisation comedy shows, burlesque, belly dancing, panel discussions, readings, classes, workshops, family‑friendly activities and more.
Central PA 4thFest
When: July 4
Where: Penn State Sports Complex
Start your Fourth of July off with a Firecracker fun run, either the 4K or 4M race. Bringing more than one thousand participants to Happy Valley in previous years, racers and walkers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join in the fun.
Then, in the afternoon, enjoy the Independence Day parade starting in downtown State College. Local bands perform and delicious food is available, leading up to the fireworks display in the night sky. Grab a seat near the Penn State Sports Complex and watch the brilliant colors in one of the country’s best fireworks shows.
When: July 5 through August 16
Where: Tussey Mountain
Enjoy a whole month’s worth of chicken wings, beer and live music at Tussey Mountain starting July 5. There are six rounds in total for consecutive Thursday evenings, after which a winner is crowned. Each week of the competition will feature a few of the local restaurants competing to be named the WingFest Champion.
In past years, there have been up to 30 different wings vendors, each with several wing flavors to choose from. At the end of the day, attendees can submit their votes for their favorite wing vendor of the night. August 16 features the final competition, where the six finalists from the six previous weeks compete head to head for the championship.
The band lineup for this year includes The Dave Matthews Tribute Band, Country Legends Tribute Tour, Bruce in the USA tribute band, Hybrid Ice, Refugee: Ultimate Tom Petty Tribute, My Hero Zero, Velveeta and several more to be announced.
Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
When: July 12‑15
Where: Downtown State College and Penn State Campus
Enjoy the annual Arts Fest sidewalk sale featuring more than 300 artists and craftsmen this July. Find a variety of artistic creations for sale, from basketry to digital art, paintings to musical instruments. Each day features a different musical performance from both Pennsylvanian and national performers.
Don’t forget that you can also get your heart rate up on Sunday morning at the annual Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival Races. Choose from a 5K, 10K or a 10‑mile run to participate in and help raise money for local youth running activities.
Plus, all throughout Arts Fest, you’ll find various musical artists and performers on stage around town and at select venues. Check out the Arts Fest schedule for more info and to pick your favorite can’t‑miss performers.
People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts
When: July 12‑ July 15
This festival features nearly 200 artists, about two dozen food vendors and 40 musical acts on the two stages, all spread out across the Boalsburg Military Museum lawn. Find everything from glass art to photography to woodwork at this weekend event.
There’s always a number of ways for kids to have fun and get involved at this festival, with previous years featuring bounce houses, a kid’s BMX show, tie‑dying, face painting and a small train to ride.
In addition to filling up on the usual festival grub, take home specialty foods from The Piper’s Peck, Tait Farm, Torchbearer Sauces and many more. For those over 21, you’ll have a chance to do some wine sampling as well, with local vineyard and winery booths.
Bellefonte Arts & Crafts Fest
When: August 10‑11
Where: Downtown Bellefonte on Allegheny & High Streets
Typically held in beautiful Talleyrand Park, this year’s festival will take place on Allegheny and High Streets due to construction. Come browse the work of talented artists and craftsmen and enjoy live music.
State College Brew Expo
When: August 11, 5‑9 p.m.
Where: Tussey Mountain Ski Resort
Happy Valley is in for a real treat this year when it comes to Brew Expo. In honor of the event’s 20th anniversary, the festival will feature only Pennsylvania craft brewers. With an original motto of “Drink Less, Drink the Best!” it’s clear this festival is for true beer‑lovers — those who appreciate it and seek quality not quantity. The new slogan, “Good Beer, Good Music, Great Cause!” embodies all the event stands for, including that proceeds benefit Coaches vs. Cancer of Penn State.
Though this year’s brewers and bands have yet to be announced, tickets are now available at statecollegebrewexpo.com/tickets.
When: August 17‑25
Where: Grange Fairgrounds, Centre Hall
Technically not a festival, the only remaining tenting show in the nation captivates Centre County in the last weeks of summer. This year, country music star Tracy Lawrence and CCM performers Building 429 lead a diverse grandstand in music, while a full schedule of events, rides and indulgent concessions bring back the Grange you all know and love. Find out more, and purchase your advance tickets at grangefair.com.
Nittany Antique Machinery Show
When: September 6‑9
Where: Centre Hall
If you missed the annual spring show this June or want to experience the festivities again, join Nittany Antique for their annual fall show, September 6‑9.
Nittany Antique hosts more than 700 vendors with more than 800 tractors on display. They also have more than 40 parts vendors available at their annual flea markets held at Penns Cave.
Enjoy several different food vendors featuring homemade ice cream, bean soup, pot pie and apple butter. Watch a chainsaw carving artist and observe some featured antique machinery in operation including machines that thresh grain, bail straw, saw logs into lumber and much more. Enjoy this outdoor market and event from dawn ‘til dusk daily. Learn more about the event here: nittanyantique.org/fall.php.
43rd Annual Dutch Fall Festival
When: October 6‑7, 2018
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean the festivals are gone. Enjoy the changing foliage, small‑town style and celebrate autumn with delicious traditional foods, live old‑time demonstrations, live entertainment, 50+ local craft and food vendors, all nestled in the historic village of Aaronsburg! Find out more at aaronsburgcc.org.
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