Good Life

Arts Fest overview

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts has offered something for all ages over its 47-year history. And this year, the event has even more in store.

More than 300 artists and 40 musical acts from around the country and the world will be featured at this year’s five-day fest, from July 10-14. Executive Director Rick Bryant said the fest will host a kids day, a sidewalk arts and crafts sale, daylong book fest, live entertainment and musical theater shows, along with an end-of-event race at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park and more.

Bryant said the Penn State Nu Musical Theatre is making its return after an absence of about six years.

“We are delighted to be returning to Arts Fest this year, as part of the festival’s mission statement is to introduce new works of musical theater on a local, regional and national level,” said Nu Musical Theatre Artistic Director Raymond Sage.

Penn State School of Theatre students and professionals run the Nu Musical Theatre. They will hold workshops for visitors at the fest, and perform in two shows and a cabaret at the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center, Bryant said.

Nu Musical Theatre will be performing a cabaret at the State Theatre at 10 p.m., July 12 and 13. Mu will offer two musical theater workshops at various dates and times including “A Hair Out of Place” — a piece loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” and “Bleeding Love” — another performance for adults about a cloistered teen cellist who must find a live rose in order to thaw the frozen heart of the rebel punk next door.


The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts started 47 years ago after officials in State College found that there were not enough events downtown to attract shoppers to the area.

Bryant said the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture teamed up with the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County to create a sidewalk sale for artists and performers.

“It kind of took off, and that’s why we’re still here today,” Bryant said.

Bryant said the festival attracts more than 100,000 visitors from around North America.

Bryant said the fest lines more than a mile of downtown streets and University Park campus, with the center of the fest being at the College Avenue-Allen Street intersection. Arts Fest celebrates the arts with a sidewalk sale and exhibition, gallery exhibition, sand sculpture and music, and dance and theatrical performances in a variety of traditional and nontraditional venues.

Arts Fest starts at 10 a.m. July 10 with Children and Youth Day and ends at 5 p.m. July 14, with more entertainment and annual runs and races.

Bryant said indoor and outdoor shows and concerts will be available to the public, including live entertainment from musicians from as far away as California and Nova Scotia, Canada.

A sidewalk sale is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 11-13 and noon to 5 p.m. on July 14.

Certain shows require a ticket. For those shows, Bryant said, a $10 admissions button is available for all visitors ages 12 and older.

But some “must-see” attractions, Bryant said, include a street-painting fest on Hiester Street with do-it-your-self demonstrations, a book fair next to the Schlow Library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and several races that begin Sunday morning.

Children and Youth Day

Bryant said Children and Youth Day will include a sidewalk sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 10 along with a performance of “Peter and the Wolf” by the National Marionette Theatre.

According to Arts Fest staff members, the sidewalk sale is a fun way for boys and girls to express themselves visually.

“The Children and Youth Sidewalk Sale encourages the creative growth of young people,” Bryant said. “We believe that they can develop their artistic potential through personal expression in individually crafted, original objects.”

The sidewalk sale is a centerpiece of Children and Youth Day that features performances for and by young people, art and craft workshops and demonstrations, and a Grand Procession through the festival site.


In its fourth year, the book fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 13.

Bryant said the fair highlights dozens of authors including Gale Martin, J. Kelly Poorman, John Carr, Jeffrey Frazier, Alice Breon and Sylvia Apple, as well as Penn State Press offerings among others.

New authors this year include Gloria Mallette, National Indie Excellence award-winning author for African American fiction; Denise Kaminsky, children’s book author of “Nittany Lion Has the Hiccups”; Edward Dionne, retired veterinarian and author of “Warm Hearts for Cold Noses: Unusual Tails of a Young Veterinarian”; and Annie Laurie Harris, author of “It’s Easier to Dance” — a memoir of overcoming cerebral palsy to lead an accomplished life.

Festival races

The festival will conclude July 14 with the Sue Crowe Memorial 38th Annual Arts Festival Races: 10-mile, 10K and 5K races.

Bryant said about 600 people are registered to run.

The 10-mile race will begin at 8:15 a.m.; the 10K will start at 8:30 a.m., and 5K will begin at 8:45 a.m. Race headquarters will be at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, with start and finish lines nearby.

A $20 registration fee is required by mail, online or in person by the day of the race.

At 11 a.m., a Kids Fun Run is also being held at the field with a quarter-mile race for kids ages 5 to 8, and a half-mile race for children ages 9 to 12.

Participants may pick up race packets or register the day before the race at the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800 E. Park Ave.

Race day registration will be held from 7 to 8 a.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

For more information, contact Dave Eggler at 571-1960 or by email at

Planning for 2014

By the end of the day Sunday, Bryant said the cleanup process and planning for next year’s event would begin.

He said staff, contractors and volunteers reach out to artists and musicians to partake in the annual event, as well as get inquiries from those artists to be a part of the event.

“You’ll have a good time. You’ll run into everyone you know and maybe some old friends, and get a chance to buy arts and crafts that has something for every taste and pocketbook,” Bryant said. “There is great music and performances, and a good experience for everyone.”