Your Guide to Arts Fest 2013

For residents of State College, the annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts — better known as Arts Fest — is a yearly celebration of the creative spirit in Happy Valley and artists around the country. The four-day event that will take over downtown State College in the next few days has been recognized as one of the best summer festivals in the country. Though many visitors come to town to meet with friends and get drunk all weekend, some people actually want to come and see some of the best independent artwork in the country — and trust me, there’s plenty of time for both! For those who want to make the most of their Happy Valley visit, here’s a quick guide on what to check out over Arts Fest weekend.

Visual Arts

The first thing you notice at Arts Fest is the incredible number of independent artists showcasing their work around town in the sidewalk sale and exhibition. Just walking the streets downtown, you will find hundreds of artists’ exhibits in every medium, from ceramics and glass, to jewelry and sculpture, to paintings and sculpture. You can check out the full list of artists at the sidewalk sale here.

Aside from the sidewalk sale, you can also find live painting exhibitions at the Italian Street Painting festival, which will be held on Heister Street between College and Beaver. You can also see live sand sculptures coming to life in the Sand Sculpture exhibit in Central Parklet. If you still want to check out more visual art, there are several other exhibits hosted around town.

Performing Arts

Arts Fest weekend is packed with tons of live music, theater, dance, and other performances. All of these will be featured in over a dozen locations around town. There are so many shows that you can’t even try to see every one. I would suggest checking out the Arts Fest schedule of events for the full list of performances so you can prioritize the acts you want to see the most. Some events require a special Arts Fest button to get in. You can support Arts Fest and check out all the special-access shows by buying a button for $10.

Festival Race

The Sue Crowe Memorial 38th Annual Arts Festival Races are a series of races hosted at Penn State’s Arts Fest. This year’s races will include a 5K, 10K, 10 Mile, and Kids Fun Run. Applications are open for aspiring racers, and proceeds benefit youth running groups in Centre County and the Nittany Valley Running Club. You can find more info on the Arts Fest Sue Crowe Memorial Festival Race here.

BookFest PA

BookFest is a celebration of the written arts, featuring live readings with local authors, talks with bestselling writers, and many more book-related activities. This year’s BookFest will feature several local authors, including Gale Martin, J. Kelly Poorman, John Carr, Jeffrey Frazier, Alice Breon, and Sylvia Apple. You can enjoy the BookFest PA tent outside the Schlow Centre Regional Library on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To see your favorite writers speak, check out the full schedule of events here.

About the Author

Zack Rutstein

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

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