Living Columns & Blogs

Join Centred Outdoors for an urban hike and a sneak peek of this year’s Arts Fest

The summer of 1967 was the “Summer of Love” — hippies, Vietnam, the Beatles, and the first year of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer flew in by helicopter from Harrisburg to kick off the first festival, which was sponsored by Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture and the State College Chamber of Commerce. The inaugural event featured musical performances both downtown and on campus, and the first Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition consisted of artists hanging their work on a snow fence along the border of Old Main Lawn.

Over the last 53 years, the festival has grown to include a wide array of musical performances by both local and national touring acts and a juried art show that includes more than 300 exhibitors from across the country. The festival is also regularly ranked as one of the top outdoor fine art and fine craft shows in the nation.

Join Centred Outdoors for a guided adventure on Sunday and Wednesday through the streets of downtown State College to get a sneak peek of this year’s Arts Fest. Experience State College’s vast collection of permanent art installations including everything from beautiful murals that span entire blocks to a family of small bronze pigs, and gain a better understanding of the artwork that makes downtown State College vibrant all year round. This 1.5 mile walk will be led by friends of the Arts Festival and will stop at a variety of permanent art displays including some that aren’t as easily noticed. Visitors will hear about the history of public art in State College and learn about the stories behind the pieces.

To join this week’s adventure on Sunday or Wednesday, meet up at the Sidney Friedman Park on Fraser Street a few minutes before the hike times listed below. Participants who join Wednesday’s walk at 5 or 6:30 p.m. will see more than just permanent art while exploring downtown just before the 2019 Arts Festival. Children and Youth Day of the Arts Festival takes place on Wednesday and downtown will be buzzing in anticipation for the Festival which runs through July 14.

A complete Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts event schedule and additional information can be found online at

Planning to attend this week’s adventure? Here’s what you need to know:

What: Centred Outdoors: Downtown Urban Hike in State College

When: Sunday, with guided hikes at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Where: Sidney Friedman Park, State College

Parking: Parking downtown may be limited due to festivities. Give yourself ample time to walk to the plaza from the nearest garage/lot or on-street parking space.

What to bring:

  • A refillable water bottle

  • Sun protection including a hat and sunscreen

  • Comfortable walking shoes

Difficulty of hike: Easy. This 1.5 miles walk is accessible, with minimal elevation change. The walk will take approximately 1 hour to complete.

Additional Information:

  • This is a pet friendly destination. Please keep your pet on a leash and clean up after your pet.

Next week’s adventure: Centred Outdoors will be visiting Black Moshannon State Park on July 14 and 17.

Centred Outdoors will host free, guided adventures to Centre County residents and visitors every Sunday from 2-5 p.m. and every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. through Aug. 6. The finalized schedule can be seen at, where users can log in to create their own profile, RSVP, and receive weekly emails about each event. While online registration is not required, it is the best way to receive event updates. Look to the Centre Daily Times every week for complete details about the upcoming Centred Outdoors destination.

Jon Major is the communications strategist for ClearWater Conservancy.