State College

Arts festival weekend ends on upbeat note

Top: Bob Gladfelter burns a design into a gourd behind his stand at the People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg on Sunday. Bob and his wife, Kim, work together to create the festive decorations, some that are luminaries. Above: Carole Hodes shows one of her pottery pieces to Alaina Del Real during the People’s Choice Festival on Sunday. Hodes has been working on her pottery with color inlays and sgraffito on porcelain for 45 years.
Top: Bob Gladfelter burns a design into a gourd behind his stand at the People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg on Sunday. Bob and his wife, Kim, work together to create the festive decorations, some that are luminaries. Above: Carole Hodes shows one of her pottery pieces to Alaina Del Real during the People’s Choice Festival on Sunday. Hodes has been working on her pottery with color inlays and sgraffito on porcelain for 45 years. CDT photos

Despite some shaky weather to kick off the weekend, the Centre Region’s arts festival season ended strong Sunday with a weekend of sunny skies and plenty of attendees.

Thousands flocked to downtown State College for the 49th Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, filling South Allen Street, South Fraser Street and nearby parking garages to capacity.

“I think generally speaking,” Arts Fest Executive Director Rick Bryant said, “the artists did well and the performances were well attended. Everyone seems to have had a good time.”

South Allen will remain closed until about 6 p.m. Monday, Bryant said last week. Artists and food vendors being packing up at about 5 p.m. Sunday, a process that lasts until after dark. Landscapers are expected Monday to begin tearing down the water features, after which the street can be reopened.

While he had no specific figures, Bryant said the vendors did well, saying, “It’s capitalism — some people do better than others. But I think generally speaking, people were happy.”

The Arts Fest organizers will hold an informal debrief next week, he said, then add up all the buttons and T-shirts sold. Planning for next year starts in September, with vendors starting the application process in November.

Meanwhile, in Boalsburg, things couldn’t have gone better for the 23rd People’s Choice Festival, Co-Director Cindy Rockey said.

“This has been a bang-up year,” she said. “Our food vendors have been so happy and our artisans were thrilled.”

Even after some “questionable” weather blew through Thursday, which collapsed the music tent, she said, it still turned out to be a decent day for sales.

“The public has been out in full force,” she said, with some artists reporting record sales.

Cleanup for the festival is usually a fairly quick process, she said. Most artists have their goods and tents packed and gone within an hour and a half of the fest’s wrap Sunday evening.

The next step is to meet with the Pennsylvania Military Museum and discuss the event, she said. The team will talk over any issues that arose — usually traffic-related — and work out some solutions. Then, after a month off, organizers will meet in September to plan next year’s festival.

While Arts Fest and People’s Choice dominate the region’s festival scene, a smaller festival celebrated the success of its first year.

Lemont Fest kicked off its three days of arts and music Friday at the Granary and on the Lemont Village Green.

“I thought it was wonderful,” Sue Smith, of the Lemont Village Association, said. “I wanted it to be calm and laid back, no lines, seeing people that you knew and children having good times. And it was all that.”

More than 1,400 people came through the festival, she said, which featured more than 15 vendors and about 15 different music acts. Rail speeders — gas powered carts used for rail repair — were also available for rides, she said, with about 1,000 visitors riding over the past two days.

Thanks to this year’s success, she said, the festival will likely return next year.

“We’re going to meet and discuss what worked and what didn’t work,” Smith said. “People had a good time, and the neighbors were receptive of it.”

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