Road Trip! Destination: State College area
There will be a crowd of more than 100,000 descending on State College, and they won't be there for a Penn State football game.
The 48th annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts is July 9 to 13. It brings 100,000 to 125,000 people to the downtown area and adjacent university campus to celebrate the arts. The event has been honored as the top outdoor fine-art and craft shows in the nation, according to Sunshine Artist magazine.
This year's five-day event will host more than 300 juried artists and craftsmen from across the nation — more than 1,000 applied.
“It's a completely different way to see the Penn State campus and downtown area,” says Rick Bryant, executive director of the festival. “It has an incredible feel to it with all of the great displays by such talented artists and wonderful entertainment. If you've never been to this festival, you should come and experience it.”
The show has everything from jewelry to clothing to other accessories, along with tons of art and lots of music. It's always the week after the Fourth of July and encompasses one mile of space with vendor booths, food and entertainment stages.
Traditional favorite events include the giant sand sculpture, the Downtown State College Italian Street Painting Festival, BookFestPA and a banner competition. A Children and Youth Day on July 9 will feature artists 8 to 18.
The Penn State Alumni Association welcomes former students who can reserve residence-hall accommodations in West Halls and attend special events including a behind-the-scenes tour.
Rounding out the weekend is the 39th annual Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival Races on July 13.
Most of the events are free. Some indoor venues require a button that is $10, and the race has an entry fee of $22.
Hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 9, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 10 to 12 and noon to 5 p.m. July 13.
Details: 814-237-3682 or www.arts-festival.com
The arts and crafts possibilities extend three miles east at the 22nd annual Boalsburg People's Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts, which runs July 10 to 13. The festival, which features everything from homemade brooms to barbecues to jewelry, is on the grounds at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in historic Boalsburg. It's always on the same weekend as the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. There will be nearly 200 artists and more than 40 entertainment groups. The first festival in 1993 started with 50 artists.
Admission is free. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 10 to 12 and noon to 5 p.m. July 13.
Details: 814-272-1320 or www.peopleschoicefestival.com
While in the area, stop by the ball park to see the minor-league baseball team the State College Spikes. At one time a minor-league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team is now connected with the rival St. Louis Cardinals and plays in the New York-Penn League, a short-season A-league. The Spikes play at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in University Park. Opponents include the Mets affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones whom the Spikes host July 9 to 11 and the Yankees affiliate Staten Island Yankees July 12 and 13. Tickets are $6 to $18.
Details: 814-272-1711 or www.statecollegespikes.com
I scream for ice cream
July and ice cream are a perfect summer combination, so when you take a break from perusing art, grab a scoop of bittersweet mint, golden chocolate pecan, cherry cheesecake or peppermint stick at the Berkey Creamery at Penn State.
The creamery was named for a generous donation by Jeanne and Earl Berkey. The couple owned the Berkey Milk Co. in Somerset until 1968 and continued in the retail ice-cream business until 1977. The new creamery, which opened in August 2006 and occupies the first floor of the Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building, is two-and-a-half times the size of the old one at 3,700 square feet.
Inside, employees create about 100 ice-cream flavors, 10 frozen-yogurt choices and six sherbet selections. Vanilla is the most popular ice-cream flavor.
Hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
Details: 814-865-7535 or www.creamery.psu.edu
At the Penn State All-Sports Museum, you'll encounter the athletic history and heritage of the university. The museum is an interactive, two-level, 10,000-square-foot testament to the success and tradition of Penn State student-athletes — on the field and in the classroom.
There are dramatic floor-to-ceiling visuals, rare archival images, and athletic equipment any aficionado would appreciate. There are trophies, including the Heisman Trophy won by John Cappelletti in 1973. There are exhibits on 29 of the 31 current varsity sports and three that have been discontinued. The addition of men's and women's ice hockey will be in the near future. The all-sports museum offers guided tours.
Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Suggested donation is $5, $3 for children, senior citizens and students.
Details: 814-865-0044 or www.gopsusports.com/museum
Round out your stay with a trip down under. Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park in Centre Hall, the only cave in Pennsylvania on the National Register of Historic Places, features glittering stalactites and stalagmites, often mysteriously in familiar shapes, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Garden of the Gods. See how dripping water has sculpted magnificent flowstone, curtains, cascades and draperies against a background of pillars and gigantic columns.
The guided interpretive tour by flat-bottom motorboat winds through cavern passageways and, when weather permits, includes a ride on Lake Nitanee. There are 48 steps leading to the cave's main entrance, which is not handicapped accessible.
Bring a sweater or jacket because the cave's temperature is 52 degrees. Tickets are $17.50, $16.50 for age 65 and up, $9.25 for ages 2 to 12, free for under 2. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 1 to Aug. 31.
Details: 814-364-1664 or www.pennscave.com
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7889.