Tom Tate is committed to bringing people into downtown State College, even if they have to bring their galoshes.
Tate is the owner of The Branch and The Vine, an oil and balsamics store on Calder Way. He’s also the progenitor of the State College Culture Crawl & Festival, a convergence of local vendors and artists held downtown on the second Sunday of every month.
Stores are invited to set up sidewalk sales and some encourage painters and other creative types to step inside and display their work. Entertainers are also invited downtown to flaunt their talents.
Tate didn’t have much trouble recruiting participants for the first two Culture Crawls — it’s a sunny day that’s giving him the run around.
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“It’s been really rainy for both of them,” Tate said.
The third time — Sunday, July 8 — might be the charm. In addition to new sidewalk vendors like BAE Butter, there will also be performances by the Irish dance troop Tir na Nog and local bands like Anchor & Arrow.
Gina Beisel is the proprietor of BAE Butter, which sells products made from all-natural ingredients designed to treat everything form acne to arthritis pain. She brought her daughter down to the first Culture Crawl and was impressed.
“I really liked the fact that everybody was local and you don’t see that a lot in State College,” Beisel said.
Sue Garner, director of Tir na Nog, is happy that the crawl will give her students — ages 5 and up — another opportunity to shine.
The group has performed before State College Spikes games and this time will be performing a variety of routines, including soft shoe. Garner said the troop's existence sometimes comes as a surprise to people.
“There’s a lot of times like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know there was Irish dance in State College,'” Garner said.
An arts and crafts station will be available for the kids (location to be decided), but adults can take advantage of the "libation station" situated outside of Tate's store that will carry beer, wine and other assorted cocktails.
Tate hopes to see Culture Crawl continue to grow and become a positive force for business owners in downtown State College.
“I would love to have tons of vendors and tons of artists that are willing to show their work,” Tate said.
If you go
What: State College Culture Crawl & Festival
When: 1-7 p.m. Sunday
Where: downtown State College