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Central Pa Festival of the Arts Returns To State College

The last Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts was held in 2019. But soon, it’ll make its big return after a pandemic hiatus.

Douglas Braff spoke with the organizers about what folks can expect this year

In less than a month, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will return to the streets of downtown State College.

But after two years away there’s a lot in store for art lovers in our region.

“Well, it’s a five-day celebration of the arts with performing in visual arts takes place right here in downtown state college. We have about 300 artists with little white tents. They come from about 40 states in a typical year.”

It’s all you could imagine with the Festival’s grand return.

Rick Bryant the Festival’s Executive Director tells me they expect 125,000 people to attend, and there will be events and performances at three large outdoor stages as well as inside the State Theater.

Planning all this, however, hasn’t been a walk in the park.

“One of the challenges is, you know, we haven’t done it two years and we’re not as young as we used to be. You know, we’re worried about our memories a little bit.”

But he tells me the economy has given them some hurtles.

“Things cost more, people don’t have the staff that they used to have, and so on. But, you know, as they did in the Battle of Britain, we’ll muddle through, we’ll be fine.”

“We have a paid staff of three, so we have about 600 volunteers and they do everything from sort of artist liaison to help pick up the trash.”

He says they’re looking for volunteers so, if you’re interested, we’ll share the details on our website.

It’ll be the festival’s 56th year and Bryant’s been there for most of them.

“I’ve been the director since 2005. I’ve been on the paid staff since 1999 and I started to volunteer in 1984 picking up the trash and I still pick up the trash.”

“It feels great. You know, we’ve decided, we’ve figured out that we can have sports. So, why shouldn’t we have arts? You know, we’re gonna have a great time. It’ll be, it’s a wonderful reason to come to State College. And so, you’ll see why it’s called Happy Valley.”


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