Your Inside Scoop on 2019’s Biggest Weekends 

By Laura Zaks

There aren’t many places in the world that bring a smile to a face the same way Happy Valley does. There’s just something about it — a feeling, perhaps — the pride, love and community that comes with being a Nittany Lion is precious indeed.


And the best way to celebrate? With weekends that honestly live on in our hearts and memories for years and years to come. Dive into the following big weekends that provide the heartbeat for this Happy Valley and find out how to spend them right!


We Are Weekend

We are…Penn State! Thank you, you’re welcome — the chant is ingrained into every Penn Stater’s heart and this weekend is all about bringing together this community of blue and white love. Register now for a weekend set from May 31 to June 2, with each day filled with fun and engaging activities like a family-friendly on-campus concert or access to commemorative photos at the Lion Shrine. The weekend will also provide behind-the-scenes tours to facilities like the Beaver Stadium and the School of Music’s New Recital Hall. Each college will also present interactive stations showcasing their newest research, goals and accomplishments. Alumni will head home with a tote bag, special gifts and pure Nittany memories to remember for years to come.


Arts Fest

Celebrating its 53rd anniversary, Arts Fest will bring art, vision, expression and sculpture to life for Happy Valley the weekend of July 10 to July 14. Make your summer bloom with music, art and exhibitions that pull at your heartstrings. Don’t forget to stop by the Sidewalk Sale and pick out a gift for you, a friend or a significant other! Over 300 artists come from all over the world to display their work — be sure to fill yourself in on the artistic magic and maybe even take a selfie with the backdrops provided by the festival.


People's Choice Festival


July is also home to another festival that takes place the very same weekend — so if you keep waiting for the perfect weekend to drive out to Happy Valley, this one is it! People’s Choice is a fun-filled festival that takes place at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. The event is rife with crafts stations, woodwork and paintings and artisan work along with music, food vendors and family entertainment…it’s everything you could vote for and more. Onsite parking is $5 and the grounds offer a wide play-area for kids. Perfect for families wanting to create long-lasting summer memories!


4th Fest

If the alliteration doesn’t catch your attention, the news of fireworks mixed with good food might. Nothing says Fourth of July better than the Central PA 4th Fest; spend your holiday at this volunteer-run festival where blue and white fever meets a splash of red on this Independence Day. Fireworks, music, food, games and a 4k are all provided with free admission. Let freedom ring over this Happy Valley this summer!



Where to Stay

While in town for these fabulous festivities, it’s important to pick the perfect place to stay.


Fairfield Inn & Suites, for example, is a wonderful contender. Known for its style and luxury-feel, the Fairfield Inn & Suites has a lot to offer. An abode that feels like a home away from home, this inn offers ergonomic workstations, flat-screen panel TVs, a 24-hour fitness center and a complimentary buffet for breakfast. The inn makes you their number one priority and is truly the fairest in all the land.


Sleep Inn is definitely another lovely candidate. Considered to be a “stylish sanctuary designed for a happy night’s sleep,” Sleep Inn also invites visitors to delve into their free WiFi, free Medley breakfasts, the fitness center and the HBO channel provided with each room’s TV. Free airport transportation is provided Monday through Friday.


Comfort Suites is just waiting to make their guests’ stay as comforting and homey as possible, so be sure to add this one to your list of hotels to choose from! With an indoor pool and hot tub, a fitness center, premium free WiFi and free airport transportation, Comfort Suites invites visitors to also enjoy how close the hotel is to major attractions like Beaver Stadium, Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park and the Pegula Ice Arena.




Other Activities to Check Off Your Bucket List


If you’re in Happy Valley, you can’t drive back home without having crossed off the bucket list of items this great place is known for.


Take pictures at the Lion Shrine. Made of Indiana Limestone and a popular backdrop for selfies and Facebook profile pictures for all students and alumni, the shrine is just waiting to make it into your photo album or maybe even wallpaper.


Visit the Palmer Art Museum. Walk through the golden paws outside and enter a museum that holds 11 galleries, with eight of the 11 displaying art from a permanent collection that holds more than 8,200 art forms. Featured events take place weekly, whether it be storytelling, poetry or tours of artwork — check what is up and coming for your weekend!


Stroll through the Arboretum. This a gem of a nature sight where flowers, plants, ponds, butterflies, trees, bamboo and tranquil sitting spots reside will be the perfect way to wind down after an action-packed day. There is nothing like laying out on the field of the Arboretum, having a picnic or just some time to relax and taking in the warmth of the spring season.






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