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THAW Festival: A Mediocre Replacement For State Patty’s Day

Written by: Jon Deasy and Allison Doluisio

In case you were looking to indulge in music and movies this State Patty’s Day weekend, you may want to wait until next year.

State College will host its first THAW Festival on a weekend better known for its debauchery. Unfortunately, the festival will not have much to offer for its inauguration. It had previously hoped to book Thirty Seconds to Mars, Tenacious D, or even the Bacon Brothers. Instead, students will be introduced to local blues band Natascha and The Spy Boys.

THAW has been in the works for about a year now, but it seems the final pieces have been put into action at the very last minute. Rather than bringing in A-listers like Jared Leto, the festival will sponsor local bands, arts, theatre performances, and indie films on campus and around downtown State College.

“I’m looking forward to THAW because it’s going to give our community the chance to showcase its vibrancy and how varied its interests are,” said John Connolly, a member of the Performing Arts council. “This festival is going to be infusing different types of art from all across the performing and visual art spectrum and everyone’s interest can be found somewhere in the events that are happening.”

The event hopes to remove some of the dangerous drinking habits often experienced during State Patty’s day and channel a more positive, community-friendly experience. However, students seemed to be more focused on donning the green and white this year with over 6,000 students already registered via Facebook.

“We’ve had a goal to eliminate major problems in hopes of clearing out room to allow a festival that would be of appeal to all residents of the community,” Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said.

Now that the bars will be open for business and fraternities are allowed to host a limited number of socials, the THAW festival is the last thing most students are talking about.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, or during the height of State Patty’s Day, the Penn State Thespians will perform its fall children’s show, Amelia Bedelia. The children’s show is performed every semester at Schlow Library in order to promote children’s literacy.

Of course, there will be other acts going on at that time, but it seems that THAW has failed to grasp the concept of State Patty’s Day. You can’t prevent thousands of college students from partaking in an annual drinking event since 2007 by inviting them to attend a children’s literacy show.

Among numerous movie showings, the festival will showcase students’ wide range of talents including acts such as: Open MIC, Songwriter Club, Glee-Club Hi-Lo’s, Full Ammo Improv Troupe, Thespians, No Refund Theater, Penn Taiko, and Performing Magicians.

Essentially, THAW will offer similar acts that you may attend numerous times throughout the semester.

The effort to distract students from drinking all day is good-hearted, but it will fail to curtail the binge drinking on State Patty’s simply because the scheduled acts only appeal to a handful of students at Penn State.

If you want bring the community closer together, maybe move it to a different weekend when drinking is not the first thing on a student’s mind. Or, if the overall goal really is to stop State Patty’s Day, it’s important to include acts that may actually lead students to forget about the made-up holiday. Perhaps a music festival reminiscent of Movin’ On would do the job.

The crime rates have steadily been decreasing the past couple of years, so it already seems that State Patty’s is close to becoming a standard weekend in Happy Valley. However, given the lack of interest in THAW, students may be inclined to stick with the holiday just because it’s that time of the year again.

Photo: Sarah Caskie

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