All Arts Festival Entertainment Will Be Free to Attend This Year

Forget about buying a button or wristband to see a show at the 58th annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in July.

All live entertainment hosted by the Arts Festival will be outdoors and free to attend this year, festival organizers said in a press release on Friday. A few indoor events sponsored by the festival will be ticketed by their host organizations, including The State Theatre, Blue Brick Theatre and Tempest Studios.

In past years, the festival had a mix of free outdoor and paid indoor entertainment, with indoor performances requiring purchase of buttons, and later wristbands, to attend. In 2023, wristbands were $15 and proceeds supported operating the nonprofit festival.

“This summer, we’ll again be offering a mix of old favorites and new performers on our outdoor stages,” organizers wrote in a press release. More than five dozen performances are scheduled at outdoor venues including the festival shell on Old Main lawn, the Allen Street stage, Sidney Friedman Park and outdoor plazas throughout the festival.

The Arts Festival gets started on Wednesday, July 10, with Children and Youth Day, and the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition takes place Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, in downtown State College and on the Penn State campus.

New Children and Youth Day Offerings

New this year, Children and Youth Day will feature a cultural journey through the festival. Starting in Sidney Friedman Park — with performances from around the world by Roots of Life, Black Cat Egyptian Belly Dancing, Dance4Joy, Packard Highland Dancers and more — families can pick up a passport and program guide. At five passport stations around the festival they will learn about different cultures to earn a sticker. Completed passports can be returned to Stuckey Mitsubishi for a chance to win a DelGrosso’s Amusement Park prize pack.

Among the new Children and Youth Day entertainment lineup will be world-renowned speed painter Cody Sabol creating three large pieces of artwork in minutes on Allen Street.

Courtesy Tent

In partnership with the Penn State Alumni Association, the festival will offer a courtesy tent at Mayor Welch Plaza in front of the Municipal Building for attendees to check their purchases while they continue shopping or enjoying other parts of the festival. The tent will be available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Items cannot be left after closing.

Attendees using the bag check will be able to use the rear parking lot of the municipal building for pickup.

The tent also will have water and T-shirts for sale, a look at the Nittany Lion Inn renovations and a chance to win a stay at the Inn during the 2025 Arts Festival weekend.

Expanded Bicycle Parking

The festival has partnered with Freez-Thaw Cycles and State College Borough to offer expanded, covered bike parking at the Beaver Avenue Parking Garage. Volunteers will be on hand to monitor the parking area during hours to be posted. Cyclists are responsible for securing their own bikes to the provided racks.

“While riding your bike through the Festival is strictly prohibited, we recognize that biking to the Festival could alleviate a lot of parking stress,” organizers wrote.

Sensory Oasis Spaces

Through a partnership with Schlow Centre Region Library, the festival is offering dedicated spaces for community members and families who need a sensory break from all the activity. Located on the second floor of the library, the Sensory Oasis Spaces will include:

  • The Quiet Area in the nook overlooking the intersection of Allen Street and Beaver Avenue for space, but not privacy, to relax and breathe.
  • The Teen Space overlooking the parking lot for low stimulation with moderate activity to reduce stress.
  • Joyce’s Sun Room for a controlled environment where music or games can be played. The room is equipped with streamable music or audiobooks, coloring books, crafts, and other supplies to help alleviate stress.

Schlow Centre Region Library also has a nursing and lactation station sponsored by Mount Nittany Health that can be unlocked upon request at the Children’s Department desk.


In another partnership between the festival and the Penn State Alumni Association, the Hintz Family Alumni Center on campus will host “Hintzpiration: Artistry at the Alumni Center.” The exhibit, on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12 and 13, will showcase the work of Lanny Sommese, the world-renowned graphic designer, artist and professor emeritus who designed the festival’s annual posters for decades until his death in 2022. His daughter Saige continues to design the posters.

For more information on the 58th Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, including full daily schedules, visit arts-festival.com.

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