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Your Guide To Arts Fest 2024

It’s time for arguably the most anticipated summer event in State College, folks.

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, better known as Arts Fest, is back for its 58th year. The festival kicks off on Wednesday, July 10, and concludes on Sunday, July 14.

The event will bring back Penn State students, alumni, families, fans, and of course, artists and performers for a weekend full of entertainment. Nothing beats spending a summer’s day in Happy Valley looking at unique displays of art throughout downtown State College and Penn State campus.

To help you keep track of all the events this weekend, we put together a guide for this year’s Arts Fest.

Event Breakdown

Arts Fest will kick off on Wednesday starting with Children and Youth Day on South Allen Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additionally, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sidney Friedman Park will host a cultural showcase with dancers and bagpipers representing Scottish culture.

Over on the Allen Street stage, various performers and artists will be performing throughout the day. From speed painting to Cirque Phoenix, the lineup is stacked with entertainment from noon to 3 p.m.

From Thursday to Sunday, the Allen Street stage, as well as Sidney Friedman Park, will welcome more entertainers to the stage with live bands and music from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Entry

In 2024, all Arts Fest performances will be free. While Arts Fest has required visitors to purchase $15 wristbands in the past, this year’s festival will allow anyone to see any event without cracking open their wallet.

According to the Arts Fest website, most activities and events will operate on a “first-come, first-seated” basis.

Entertainment

Performances will start at 11:30 a.m. and continue through 11 p.m. Thursday, July 11, through Saturday, July 13. The final show starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 14.

The festival will present a wide variety of performances on both outdoor and indoor stages. From rock to bluegrass to jazz to gospel, Arts Fest attendees will be jamming out all weekend long.

Sidewalk Sale & Exhibition

The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, through Saturday, July 13, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 14. 

This year’s Arts Fest will host over 300 unique vendors throughout the weekend, offering pieces of art, jewelry, and housewares. Some of the country’s most brilliant painters, designers, and artists will be featuring their work in a range of mediums, including ceramics, wood, painting, photography, and more.

Parking

It’s recommended that those attending the festival should park at the West Parking Deck on White Course Drive, close to the IST Building. Rates are $1 per hour for the first two hours with a flat $10 fee for anything over two hours.

Folks can take a free bus from the parking deck to downtown State College. For those who would rather walk, the deck is roughly half a mile from the festival.

Beaver, Fraser, and Pugh parking decks in downtown State College will also be open for folks wanting to park closer to the festival. Parking in the downtown decks is $2.25 per hour with a ceiling of $32.

State College Borough also released a full list of its parking rates and rule changes for the week.

Food Vendors

The Memorial Field parking lot will have a food truck court featuring Bees Knees Coffee, Bonnie Blue’s Smokeys and Sweets, Brazilian Munchies, Everything about Crepes, Funnel Cake Kings, Happy Dishes, Hellenic Kouzina Mobile Kitchen, and Rebelz Mobile Kitchen.

Downtown dining options include Chan’s Golden Gate, Moody Culture, Hanson’s Kettle Corn, and Maine Bay & Berry with Berkey Creamery ice cream also available on the Old Main Lawn.

Several local vendors will be stationed at the junction of Foster Avenue and South Allen Street during the same hours as the sidewalk sale.

Craft Beverage Expo

The Central Pennsylvania Tasting Trail’s Craft Beverage Expo will take place in the Martin Luther King Plaza and is open to everyone over the age of 21 on Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13 from noon until 8 p.m. 

The event offers two days full of live entertainment, sampling, and purchasing beers, wines, ciders, and spirits made right here in Centre County.

Arts Festival Races

At 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, July 15, runners can choose from a five-mile or a 10-mile race at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. Folks planning to run can register for both races, ranging from $25 to $35. On Saturday, July 14, runners can register in person at the Mount Nittany Health tent located across from the Schlow Centre Region Library or online.

Visit this website for additional information about the registration process and the recently renamed Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival Races.

Festival Poster

Posters are available throughout the week at the HUB and Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts office. Vintage posters are available for $15 through the festival’s online store.

This year’s official festival poster was designed by Penn State alumna Saige Sommese, who graduated from Penn State’s Graphic Design Program in 2017. She has been designing the Festival Posters since 2018, initially aiding her father, Lanny, who drew the poster for over five decades before passing away.

Other Information

Remember that prohibited items include bicycles, skateboards, and pets. Bottled water will be sold along the festival route at information booths for $2, along with official Arts Fest 2024 merchandise available for purchase.

Any other questions can likely be answered by visiting the official Arts Fest website.

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About the Author

Evan Halfen

Evan Halfen is a junior broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your tips, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @evan.halfen or email: [email protected]

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