Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts wraps up successful event

Geraldo De-Souza was up until 4 a.m. Sunday creating 60 new bow ties that would stock his shelves on the last day of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

De-Souza said his sales tripled from last year, and his hand-crafted bow ties were flying off the shelves. He said this has been his fifth best show, and he does close to 50 every year.

“If I make as many ties as I can, someone will come in and own them,” he said.

He said he can match a bow tie to anyone’s personality based on how he or she wants to be portrayed. De-Souza asks potential customers a series of questions and will only let the bow tie exchange hands if customers can come up with at least five outfits and occasions with which it can be worn.

They are marketed as every day bow ties that can complement most shirts, he said, adding that the shirt is the canvas and the bow tie is the art.

De-Souza decided to quit his $100,000-per-year architecture job three years ago to pursue bow tie making, after several people approached him trying to buy ties.

The money isn’t everything, but he said his sales have tripled every year and don’t seem to be topping out.

“I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I’m loving the ride,” he said.

Overall, this year’s Arts Festival was very successful, Director Rick Bryant said.

Many of the vendors were happy with how they made out.

“I think there was a wide range of creativity, and the ones I talked to did very well,” he said.

Bryant was also pleased with the wide variety in the musical selections over the course of the festival in the indoor and outdoor venues. His personal favorite was a musical and comedy group called The Four Bitchin’ Babes.

He said it was the exact kind of act that should be at the Arts Festival, with a funny show that was family friendly and didn’t include profanity.

Elsewhere, holding down a tent on Burrowes Street were 15-year Arts Festival veterans David Brown and Jayne Akinson.

The husband and wife duo create painted clocks with Brown doing the cutting and fitting and Akinson working on the painting.

Brown said the Arts Festival tops their list of shows, and the couple bring their children along to experience State College each year.

“This is really our favorite show,” he said. “We love coming back here. We love the campus.”

It was a successful festival financially, with the couple pulling in more sales than they did in the previous few years, Brown said. He said they usually do good sales because alumni come back with money they are willing to spend.

And there is no end in sight for the couple. Akinson said they will keep doing this until they can’t any longer, adding that she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Bryant said there were no major issues with festival management this year, with everything running smoothly operationally.

Next year he would like to see vendors back on Fraser Street with Memorial Field construction completed, but he was glad the large crowd collectively had a positive experience.

“I’m just delighted that everyone comes out and has a good time,” he said.

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