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Arts Fest 2021 Canceled Due To COVID-19 Concerns

This year’s Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, better known as Arts Fest, has been canceled due to “ongoing public health concerns” stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

This is now the second time in Arts Fest’s 55-year history the event won’t be held in person in July. Last year’s festival was also canceled amid the pandemic.

“While the number of Americans receiving vaccinations is encouraging, ongoing public health guidance makes it impossible to produce the event our community has come to know and love,” Executive Director Rick Bryant said in a statement. “We must continue to put the health and safety of our audience members, artists, performers, volunteers, and sponsors first.”

Bryant said the festival’s Board of Directors needed to make a decision “sooner rather than later” given Arts Fest’s complex logistics and heavy planning. He said the organization considered moving the date or choosing an alternate site, but neither “were satisfactory in allowing [Arts Fest] to meet the expectations of artists, participants, and the safety of our community.”

Now, Arts Fest will host a full slate of virtual programming in July that will feature local artists and musicians. Once virtual festival plans are finalized, they’ll be listed on Arts Fest’s website.

“We have heard from so many of you how important the Festival is to our community and that you want it to return to the streets of State College and on our Penn State campus. And we want that too,” said Renata Engel, Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts president. “We’re committed to making that happen in the future and creating a virtual festival this year. Our enthusiasm for the arts and their important role in our community has only strengthened during this pandemic.”

Although this summer’s Arts Fest didn’t pan out in person, Bryant said the organization’s other planned events, including holiday celebrations like First Night State College, should be held in person this year, should health and safety guidelines permit.

“We know that you have had to adapt with us, and it hasn’t been easy. We share in your disappointment and appreciate your ongoing support,” Bryant said. “And we look forward to connecting online this summer and then coming together for a robust in-person Arts Festival when possible.”

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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