In some places, summer is defined by a celebration that makes the season.
In Centre County, that happens the second week of July, when not one, not two, but three community celebrations make for widespread fun.
The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts might be the biggest of the three, but Philipsburg’s Heritage Days is the first.
On Tuesday, the borough’s Front Street shut down while stages were set up, tents were erected and food trucks rolled in.
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Two blocks away, the first event was happening at the same time.
The Heritage Days theme, “Looking Forward but Remembering Our Past,” was the focus of the annual vespers service and community awards presentation.
“One of the major concepts of Heritage Days is keeping the history of the past from being lost,” Pastor Dan Winters, of the Gospel Tabernacle Assembly of God, said.
This is the 20th anniversary of the Philipsburg festivities, which began in 1997 for the borough’s bicentennial.
“Philipsburg has a rich history,” Winters said. “This community has endured.”
Heritage Days runs through Sunday, with events including Wednesday’s watermelon eating contest, Thursday’s Valley Voices concert, Friday’s flower show, Saturday’s Grand Parade and Sunday’s car show.
Wednesday sees the start of the Arts Fest in downtown State College, with Children and Youth Day. The festival runs through Sunday with daily concerts, art exhibitions, races and more.
The fun also extends to Boalsburg, where the People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts runs Thursday through Sunday with specialty food and wine, crafts and entertainment.