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When the students leave Penn State campus, visitors often make the mistake of thinking the town becomes sleepy and quiet. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The summer is absolutely packed full of festivals and things to do all throughout the season.
Kicking off with Boalsburg Memorial Day in the birthplace of the holiday, you can enjoy the history of Boalsburg with the PA Military Museum, Boal Mansion and Columbus Chapel. Typical activities include a classic car show, parade, Civil War re-enactment, carnival rides, food vendors and much more.
After a one-year hiatus one of State College’s favorite summer festivals returns to a new location on South Allen Street. This two-day festival on May 31st and June 1st brings in nationally touring acts mixed with regional and even local acts. There is also an outdoor beer pub to help you wet your whistle and loosen your inhibitions against dancing.
The 38th Annual Lemont Strawberry Festival (June 8th) is a local favorite of those not only in Lemont, but the region as a whole. It is a great event to bring children with pony rides, speeder trains, activities and more. It isn't bad for adults either and we highly recommend grabbing a strawberry shake while you're there. There will also be fresh strawberries for sale throughout the event.
Book a three-day weekend for Bellefonte over Father’s Day Weekend. This June 14th-16th is the Bellefonte Cruise, which takes over downtown Bellefonte. Activities include a Sock-Hop on Friday night and the classic car show on Saturday. But once the sun comes up on Sunday stick around for the annual Central PA Tasting Trail Summer Craft Beverage Expo in Talleyrand Park. For just $15 (or $10 pre-sale) you can sample craft beverages from a dozen different local businesses….and don’t get us started with the great food on site.
Downtown State College becomes grand central for the performing arts from June 21st-23rd with over 100+ performances, workshops and competitions all in one central location. Most performances are free, but there are some that come with a fee. This IS the event for those that love the performing arts and learning new skills.
Tussey Mountain is probably best known for being a ski area throughout the winter, but it also is a wonderful venue for live music, outdoor movies and more. There might not be a more popular event than their weekly Tussey Mountain Wingfest every Thursday starting in late-June. The six-week contest crowns a champion of the chicken wing in Happy Valley. Each week six to seven restaurants match up to crown a weekly champion. In August all of the champions come back for one last showdown to name the King of the Wing. Don’t miss the State College Brew Expo (August 17th) that features the best of Pennsylvania beers in one location.
Independence Day in Centre County has become a note-worthy celebration of life and liberty with the award-winning fireworks display, parade, face-painting and other activities included in Central PA's Fourth Fest. The day starts with the 4K and 4-mile run before the Independence Day Parade, which starts in downtown State College. We recommend grabbing lunch and a spot along the parade route, before heading up to the festival grounds near Beaver Stadium.
While the fireworks are high in the sky, but banjo picking and fiddle playing is hot out at the Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival (July 3rd-7th) at the Centre County Grange. With over 20 nationally Bluegrass groups coming into Centre Hall, there are few opportunities to see as many high-quality acts in one place. The bonus is full-tickets for multiple days cost less than $75, but they are cheaper the earlier you get them. You can also stay on the event grounds, because there are well over 1,000 RV spots on the grounds.
The Central PA Festival of the Arts, or Arts Fest (July 10th-14th) as it is fondly known, is a great time for alumni reunions and family getaways, as downtown State College is transformed with a carnival atmosphere. The Food stands color the air with tempting delights, booths catch the eye with art in different mediums from around the world and kids of all ages play in the fountains set up on Allen Street. Watch out for those buckets – they can hold a surprising amount of water! While you’re here don’t forget to stop in Boalsburg for the Pennsylvania-only arts showcase in the People’s Choice Festival or Philipsburg for their annual Heritage Days celebration.
If you love the outdoors, farming and the food it produces July 27th is the day for you. Agriculture is one of the backbones of Centre County and was much of the reason the Pennsylvania Farmer's High School was founded, which you now know as Penn State. Local Centre County farms will open their doors to the community to offer tours and activities for visitors. The tour is self-guided tour with a small fee of $20 (but it is only $15 if you get it in advance) on a per car basis. This value makes it very family friendly. Of course, if you would only like to visit one farm along the way a single-farm pass can be purchased for just $5.
Centre County was largely settled for two things iron furnaces and farms. Now over 200+ years later the farms are still going strong and August is a wonderful month to show off all the best and brightest. The first event Penn State Ag Progress Days (August 13th-15th) shows off all of the new technology and research that can be found in the world of agriculture. It is great for those that work in agriculture, but also a terrific event for those that simply love nature and the outdoors.
The Centre County Grange Fair and Encampment (August 16th-24th) is a nine-day festival full of carnival rides, hundreds of vendors, nationally touring entertainment, tractor pulls and much more. The event annually attracts well into the six-digits of visitors and has long been a favorite of locals and visitors alike. It is a great opportunity to take one last family-friendly trip before the new school year starts.
Of course, the fun shouldn’t be limited to just the festivals. We have world-class mountain bike trails, cycling, fly-fishing and hiking for the traveler that just wants to get away into the quiet of nature. Summer is a busy time, so you’ll want to get your lodging lined up in advance of the time you’re looking to visit. While you’re waiting for your trip to arrive make sure to request our visitor guide. We’re looking forward to seeing you this summer!