Fraser Street closure to shift Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts route to Nittany Avenue

A portion of Fraser Street will be closed during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, forcing a change in the location of some artist booths, Executive Director Rick Bryant said Monday.

Arts Fest runs July 10-14 in downtown State College and on the Penn State campus.

A retaining wall along the east side of the 300 block of South Fraser Street at Memorial Field collapsed during Thursday’s heavy rain.

The street will be closed between Nittany and Foster avenues until August, Mark Whitfield, the director of the borough’s Public Works Department, said Monday.

Bryant said 30 booths will be affected by the street closure.

“It’s not insignificant,” Bryant said. “The good news is that this is happening this week, not next week.”

Whitfield said arts festival visitors will follow this path: south on Allen Street to Fairmount Avenue, one block west to Fraser Street, one block north to Nittany Avenue, then one block east back to South Allen Street. Traditionally, visitors could continue north on Fraser alongside the football field to Sidney Friedman Park.

“It will be roughly a loop again,” Bryant said. “With a sidewalk sale route, that’s very important. You don’t want people running into a dead end.”

Whitfield said a Foster Avenue “spur” will connect visitors to Sidney Friedman Park, always busy with Arts Fest activities.

The sidewalk on the west side of Fraser is open and will allow visitors to reach events at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at Fraser and Foster. The church will lose several parking spaces during the street closure.

“We always keep Nittany Avenue closed anyway during the arts festival,” Whitfield said. “So the plan now is that we’ll just utilize Nittany.”

Whitfield said the fallen retaining wall was scheduled to be replaced this summer during the Memorial Field renovation project.

Work will begin after the arts festival and the street will likely be closed until August.

“The field was closed when the wall fell in, so no one was in harm’s way,” Whitfield said.

“As soon as a new wall is installed and all of that becomes stable again, we’ll reopen the road,” he said.