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Art in the Orchard

This weekend would normally be Artsfest, formally known as the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, in State College. Unfortunately, the event was partly virtual and most in-person elements were cancelled citing pandemic repercussions.

However, it’s absence gave life to new festivals in the region. One such newcomer was Art in the Orchard at Way Fruit Farm, where they wrapped up their first annual rendition Saturday after three festive days.

Co-Owner Jason Coopey said he felt his farm could be the place for those most severely impacted by festival cancellations. “All of these entities had nowhere to sell anything and so all of these artists got out and were able to sell stuff but even beyond that, you know, the food vendors,” he said.

The event made its debut this past Thursday. Coopey said someone needed to get commerce flowing in the region, and he was happy to step up.

“Even, even down to some of the vendors that provide us some of the toiletries and everything else, it’s so important to get that economy rolling in our opinion,” he submitted.

His hunch paid off as thousands of people flocked to the farm in Halfmoon Township. Michael Pendleton and Amy Yojo Shaw, who sold their MP Custom Made pieces at the show, were among those to revel in the moment.

“So this is our second show in almost 2 years…it’s ridiculous, we normally do at least half a dozen shows in a season,” Pendleton shared. “So, yeah, this is fantastic to have this event here and have it sort of as a replacement for a lot of the bigger shows that had to go online this year.”

Pendleton and Shaw said they were impressed by what they saw.

“We’ve been doing these for years,city streets and convention centers, and every setting you could possibly (imagine),” they said. “Not usually so close to the corn but it’s kind of nice. It is nice, we’ve been, we’ve been out in fields we’ve been doing this for years and I’m not just saying it lightly, this is a really, really well-run show, and really knocking it out of the park, especially first time around.”

Most importantly, Coopey says, it was a chance for people to get back together.

“Oh, the vibe was just truly festive,” he said. “You know, I think everybody has felt so locked up for so long that now things are safer with vaccines, everybody was able to come out get everything from a painting to a funnel cake, you know, and it’s just been a long time since we’ve been able to experience a funnel cake, kettle corn, you know, we had bands, it was just, it’s been wonderful.”

Coopey added he hopes to keep the momentum going in 2022, and said Art in the Orchard will definitely be back.

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