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Penn State Celebrates America’s Birthday

The 4th of July is one of America’s most deeply held traditions. Every year, millions of patriotic Americans celebrate the founding of the greatest country on earth with summer barbecues and family gatherings. As one of this country’s most  respected academic institutions, it is Penn State’s enduring duty to celebrate America’s birthday like nowhere else.

Central Pennsylvania’s 4th Fest is State College’s own 4th of July party. The daylong celebration features music, the patriotic Heroes Parade, a 4K run, family activities, and of course — fireworks. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your 4th Fest.

America’s Got Heroes Parade

To kick off the 4 of July festivities, catch the America’s Got Heroes Parade of Heroes, which recognizes veterans in the community. The parade starts at the State College Municipal Building at 2:00 p.m and travels throughout downtown, around campus, and ends near the Penn State Law Building.

Firecracker 4K Race

The Firecracker 4K is family-friendly race through downtown State College. Last year’s run had over 1,100 participants of all ages. The three fastest male and female runners of each age group will win prizes. The race starts at 9:00 a.m in front of the Bryce Jordan Center.  You can find details and the race map here.


4th Fest will feature a ton of music and family-friendly entertainment. With 24 bands performing all day on 3 stages throughout State College, there will be no shortage of live music. The Stadium West Stage is located in the stadium parking lot next to Beaver Stadium, the BJC Acoustic Stage is located on the east side of the BJC, and the Towne Square Stage is located in the BJC parking lot across from the All-Sports museum. Along with the live music, 4th Fest will also feature a family carnival, military equipment display, pyrotechnics demonstration, lumberjack competition, arts & crafts, mini golf, and a bunch of other family-friendly activities. You can find the event map and music schedule here.


4th Fest has been renowned for its world-class fireworks display. The 45-minute show featuring music and over 12,000 fireworks shells will begin at 9:15 p.m. The display is set off at the baseball stadium on Porter Road. Though the fireworks can be seen from almost anywhere in State College, VIP passes provide the best vantage point to enjoy the show. you can get the music schedule, VIP passes, and other details on the fireworks show here.

About the Author

Zack Rutstein

Penn State 5th-year Materials Science and Engineering student, Onward State Arts Editor, Musician


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