4th Fest Weekend is Almost Here!

For 75 years, folks have been gathering in Happy Valley to wish our country a happy birthday. Last year, the Travel Channel declared 4th Fest 'one of the best fireworks displays in the country.' They don't know the half of it. This all volunteer-run fete takes more than $200,000 to run, and is powered entirely by individual and corporate donations. It's one more thing that makes Happy Valley really, truly, happy.

Here's what you need to know!

4th Fest is a two-day-long birthday party with lots of great entertainment and activities planned for Sunday July 3rd, and Monday July 4th! Start off your Independence celebration enjoying music, food, and the carnival midway on Sunday evening. Monday, July 4th, lace up your kicks and join us in the Firecracker 4K & 4Mile at 9:00 AM. Starting at 2:00 PM, grab your spot for the Parade of Heroes, then enjoy music in four venues, various activities in the Towne Square, the carnival midway, fair food, and activities and entertainment for children and teens. After the 4thFest Fireworks, stick around for the Street Dance! Download your entertainment schedule and parking map here!

Sunday, July 3
Start off your Independence celebration enjoying music, food, and the carnival midway on Sunday evening. For a complete listing of performers, click here.

Monday, July 4

Firecracker 4 Mile Race and 4k Race
The annual Firecracker 4K provides the perfect start to our day long Central PA 4thFest celebration. New for 2016 is the Firecracker 4 Mile race! The races will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 4th, 2016 on the Penn State campus. Runners and walkers of all skill levels and ages are encouraged to participate. As in the past, a digital timing system will be used to determine winners in various age categories. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers, for both distances, in each of the following age groups: 10 & under, 11-14, 15-18, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+. Register now.

Heroes Parade
The 5th annual Parade of Heroes adds to the already well-established day of family-friendly-fun festivities celebrating our nation’s birth. The Parade of Heroes is Monday, July 4th, 2016 – beginning in front of the State College Municipal Building at 2:00pm. The parade route will travel through downtown State College, across the PSU campus and end at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Park your car and celebrate the afternoon and evening away with live music and performances in four venues. Take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the carnival midway and tasty fair food. Don’t miss the Towne Square, and activities and entertainment for children and teens. 






9:00 AM

Register near IM Building

Firecracker 4K & 4Mile RacesSponsored by: Penn State HealthHealth South Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital,Hospitality Asset Management,Sam’s ClubWegmans


2:00 PM

Downtown State College

Parade of Heroes


2:00 PM


Food Vendors, Info Booth, and Souvenir Booths Open


2:00 – 7:00 PM

Curtin Road

Dog Rest Stations


4:00 – 8:00 PM

Founders Mall

Founders Mall

  • 148th Central Pennsylvania Infantry Company C

  • Fingerprinting & Safety with State College Police Department and Penn State Police

  • Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab & Scavenger Hunt

  • Pegula Ice Arena / PSU Ice Hockey

  • Robotics Demonstration


4:30 PM
6:00 PM
7:30 PM

Founders Mall

BMX Acrobatics Stunts ShowsBe sure to enjoy the fast paced, high flying Dialed Action Sports BMX riders and rollerbladers as they perform gravity-defying stunt shows!
Some of the best professional BMX riders and rollerbladers perform the BIGGEST and craziest tricks in the sport.Shows at 4:30 PM, 6:00 PM, & 7:30 PM
Sponsored by: Metzger Animal Hospital


4:00 – 8:00 PM

Curtin Road near BJC

Military Equipment Display


4:00 – 8:00 PM

Curtin Road

At the Operation Thank-Youtent, show your appreciation to our troops by signing a card to them, or donating personal items. Sponsored by: Centre Communications


4:00 PM
5:30 PM
7:00 PM

Pyro Demo Tent

Pyrotechnics Demonstration4th Fest Volunteers will provide a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making this great show happen. You’ll be amazed!This year’s demonstration will also describe what goes into the choreography for the fireworks, and will give you a preview of the evening’s show. Demonstrations at 4:00 PM, 5:30 PM, 7:00 PM. Sponsored by: McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC


4:00 – 8:00 PM

Curtin Road (near BJC)

4thFest Freedom FranksThere will be free hot dogs and chips. Donations are greatly appreciated.


4:00 PM

Founder’s Mall

Kids Crafts & Face Painting.


4:00 – 8:00 PM

Stadium West

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center


4:00 – 8:00 PM

Founders Mall

Adam Swartz Puppets & Historical Characters. Interact with our founding fathers and mothers in the shade of the Character Tent. Take your picture with folks like Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Thomas Paine, or Molly Pitcher. This year’s historical characters will be portrayed by talented local actors, as well as talented local puppets!


4:00 – 8:30 PM

Beaver Stadium

Penn State All Sports MuseumThe museum will be open from 10am-9pm. We will have activities with prizes outside the museum from 4-8:30, which include basketball, bounce baseball, hockey shots and a scavenger hunt inside the museum. Our restrooms will be open and the museum is air conditioned.


5:00 – 9:00 PM

Grassy Field below lot 44

Sky’s the Limit BallooningTethered Hot Air Balloon Rides, wind and weather permitting. Sign up at the balloon. ($)


6:00 PM

Stadium West

GIANT Foods Giant Flag Birthday Cake A 14 foot long flag cake that is served by the employees of RESTEK. The line forms in Stadium West amongst the celebration activities around 5:30 pm. At 5:58, we will sing Happy Birthday to our nation and the cake will be cut and served.


6:00 – 7:00 PM


State College Area Municipal BandThe SCAMB is a staple of the 4th Fest Celebration – with their blend of pops, patriotic music and rousing marches!Sponsored by:Bartell & Bartell Ltd.


7:30 PM

Independence Stage

Fireworks in the VIP Viewing Area


9:00 PM

Declaration of Independence


9:15 PM

The Fireworks! Rated one of the top 4th of July fireworks shows in America!


10:15 PM

Independence Stage

Street Dance with Chris Vipond and the Stanley Street Band


The 4thFest has consistently been rated as a must-see, garnering mentions like among the top five Largest, Biggest, Best 4th of July Fireworks show in the United States. This year promises to be another stellar show. Choreographed to music which is played on 93.7 The Bus, this year’s medley includes many traditional patriotic songs, movie, TV, and show tunes, as well as popular selections. Songs will be played by big bands, jazz bands, rock bands, military bands, and don’t forget the choirs and orchestras. As always, after enjoying the many different moods and styles displayed in the core of the fireworks show, you can always count on the BIG ending with the 4thFest finale. And what a grand finale is planned. Up until the grand finale the show will be averaging about 4 shells per second. That is per second…not per minute. When we hit the finale, and you should know we are there, the firing rate will pop to over 27 shells per second. The planning for the 2016 fireworks began in the fall of 2015. First the music was selected by the choreography team then they designed the effects for this years 45 minute show. Included this year will be 149 different types of shells which will generate the traditional loud Ooohs…, Ahhh’s… and spontaneous applause. How many in total you ask… almost 10,830 before the show is over.

And it's all FREE! A $10 donation is requested for general parking. (Insider tip: Do it. Don't waste time looking for free parking – pay the $10 and go enjoy the party!)

Trending Content

“The Tree that visited New York City for the holidays”, a short film released last November by Blue White Media, has been nominated for an Emmy Award and has received the prestigious Silver Telly...

Ah, the clichés are all finally out. “Fall in love.” “Pumpkin spice and everything nice,” “Fall for these deals”—you get the idea.

Nonetheless, the season of changing leaves, funky scarves...

Don’t you feel like construction and roadwork is happening everywhere these days? It feels as though not a day goes by without passing by a construction site or crew working on the side of the...

The Penn Stater’s home in Innovation Park makes it the perfect location for a business lunch (none of the hassle of downtown traffic or parking garages), slow Sunday brunches or a celebratory...

Since 1931, The Nittany Lion Inn has defined Penn State luxury. It pairs nostalgia with world‑class amenities and dining to create a...

Back to Top