‘It’s A Great Lifestyle’: Godspeed Events & Lodging Leaving Its Mark On Central Pennsylvania
Bart Grande moved across the country 20 years ago from his home state of California where he got an IT job at Penn State. He knew nothing about the State College area and its community. Nine years later, he and his wife, Susan, started Godspeed Events and Lodging as a lifestyle choice, and it changed everything.
Penn State students may have heard of Godspeed, which is located in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, through the spring and fall barn parties and formals it hosts. However, the company didn’t always offer those events and has many other services it provides for people in Central Pennsylvania.
Godspeed does everything from host weddings, graduation parties, lodging, and Penn State events, to, of course, barn parties and formals.
The Grande family bought the 20-acre plot of land 11 years ago and have turned Godspeed into a three-season operation that’s completely family-run, without any other employees. Bart, Susan, and their one daughter even built a house on the property a year ago. The entire operation has turned into a lifestyle for the family that once knew nothing about the area.
“It’s a great lifestyle… I rarely leave. It’s just a great property,” Grande said. “This allows us to have a great lifestyle and then people come and enjoy the property and we get to make a living.”
Godspeed Events and Lodging is technically zoned as a hotel and can sleep up to 40 people at any given time. The lodging aspect of the company becomes highly popular on Penn State football weekends when alumni and fans arrive in Happy Valley and stay to watch the Nittany Lions compete.
The Grandes love what they do. Their favorite part of the job is getting to interact with Penn State students. Learning more about the next generation through conversation each night, and obviously, putting on a great party for all the attendees.
“From my personal perspective, I love to meet the college kids now who are going to change the world when we’re all gone,” Grande said. “I love being there and staying in touch with the generations that are younger than me.”
What makes Godspeed so special is the effort Grande puts into his business and pleasing his visitors. The Grandes put the guests first and, in return, everyone has a great time at the barn.
“Not many college kids are familiar with the logistics of planning a party, hiring buses, getting sound systems, and all the stuff that is needed. So that’s kind of our thing, we do it all,” Grande said.
For barn parties, Grande stresses that the only thing students have to worry about is the scheduling. Once everyone arrives at the property, everyone can relax and have a good time without the stress of any of the logistics.
“The number one priority is keeping everybody safe. It’s well-supervised,” Grande said. “We have set numbers that support [comes] if it gets a certain size. I have a group of military veterans that run a nonprofit. I hire them and then donate to the nonprofit.”
Grande and others are always outside supervising parties and other events that Godspeed hosts. He said the safety of his guests is Godspeed’s main objective. With events that exceed 150 guests, he brings in additional help to make sure everyone remains safe.
Godspeed is booked every Thursday until December for barn parties and formals. The property and people are excited to continue to host students and Penn Staters next spring and for the foreseeable future. This community is a part of them.
“We don’t have the desire that some companies do of just being bigger,” Grande said. “We like what we do.”
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