2017-05-01 / Features

Summer Arts Preview

Maggie Anderson

There’s one big art-centric event we all look forward to (and plan our schedules around) each summer, and this year’s Arts Fest is sure to be as amazing as always. And though it may be the biggest, it’s not the only show in town. From free outdoor music series to big musicals from local theater groups, there’s more to State College summer fun than reveling in the relatively uncrowded town. The students may leave, but the artists do not! Here are several upcoming cool events for hot days.


Music in the Gardens: Healing the Soul
June 7, The Arboretum at Penn State
Part of the annual Penn’s Woods Music Festival, June 7-24 this year, the Music in the Gardens show offers a new way to hear some classical music. Musicians play short selections at spots throughout the Arboretum, so you can wander among the plants and hear all the different pieces. Then head back to the event lawn for a concert to finish the evening. In the event of rain, this event will be held on June 8.

Rick Hirsch’s Big Ol’ Band with special guest Eric Ian Farmer
June 16, The State Theatre
Last year, local jazz musician and composer Rick Hirsch got some friends together to lay down some tracks. Of course, Hirsch’s friends are all-star musicians, and the tracks are no less than his own compositions. Pocono Git-Down, the resulting album, came out in January, but Hirsch and his band are hoping to really launch it locally with this show. “The caliber of musicianship is going to be so high, and to have that right here at The State Theatre for a $20 ticket is amazing,” he says.

The band will be joined by singer-songwriter Eric Ian Farmer for a few tunes, including an Otis Redding song. “Eric is such a powerhouse, and really it’s a part of the big band tradition going back to the 1930s to have a great vocalist with the band.” Concertgoers will recognize other songs, too — Hirsch has arrangements of Eric Clapton, The Beatles, and even Michael Jackson songs on the set list. “The music will be great. The vibe will be fun. We’ll have a good time!”


South Hills’ Music Picnic Series
June 4–Aug. 27
The amphitheater lawn opens at 5 p.m. for picnickers; music starts at 6 p.m. Bands include everything from local jazz groups to Tommy Wareham & the Intrigues. Quench your thirst on the cheap with glasses of lemonade for just a penny each.

Lemont Village’s Friday Concerts on the Green
June 2–Aug. 25
Opening with the Tussey Mountain Moonshiners, Lemont’s summer music series features folk bands, acoustic artists and local virtuosos like Richard Sleigh, each starting at 7:30 p.m. Bring a picnic or grab dinner at the Food for Thought Food Truck.

Summer Sounds from the Gazebo
June 11–Aug. 13
Local artists take the stage at 7 p.m. via the gazebo in Talleyrand Park to play blues, jazz, country, doo-wop and more. The Bellefonte Community Band opens the season each year.


Happy Valley Music Fest
June 2-3, Downtown State College
The festival formerly known as Summer’s Best Music Fest will keep many of the changes last year’s event saw, including the beer gardens, national acts (like headliner The Spin Doctors) and paid tickets. Some of our favorite local musicians will be there, too, including Marah, Ted McCloskey and the Hi-Fi’s and Miss Melanie and the Valley Rats.

June 17, Tussey Mountain Ski Area
Quickly becoming a local tradition, Celticfest celebrates the culture of the ancient European tribe with food like shepherd’s pie, highland games like caber tossing and music from The Kilmaine Saints, Poehemia and more. Sláinte!

Karoondinha Music & Arts Festival
July 21-23, Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park
The newest — and certainly biggest — festival to hit Central Pennsylvania, Karoondinha promises to be an experience, with John Legend, The Roots, Mavis Staples and many more invited to the party. With stages set up at Penn’s Cave (yes, even inside the caves!) for an enormous lineup of artists, we can’t wait to see Penns Valley transformed for one weekend.

State College Brew Expo
Aug. 12, Tussey Mountain Ski Area
Good beer, good music, great cause — that’s the tagline of the State College Brew Expo, now in its 19th year. Breweries from all over will be there to show off their suds, and the music lineup is usually a lot of fun. Plus, it’s all to raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer.


Monet’s Picnic
June 17, Muddy Paws Wetland Education Center
The Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County’s annual fundraiser, Monet’s Picnic, is back again with Chef Stephane Gawlowicz preparing a traditional French menu along with Bobbie Dash of Bobbie’s Kitchen. Museum artists will be painting en plein air, perhaps even visited by one of the great garden painters himself.

Home Economics
June 29–Aug. 12, Woskob Family Gallery
Curated by program manager Haley Finnegan, the summer show in the gallery at the Downtown Theatre will explore the concept of “home.” The works will include a variety of media and “range from deeply personal to overtly political,” says Finnegan. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held June 29.

Good Libations
June and July, Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County
The Bellefonte Art Museum’s annual summer project is back, with a theme that will quench the thirst of art lovers. “Good Libations: Breweries, Cideries, Distilleries and Wineries” is part photography exhibit, part event series. Local photographers have been shooting “local libations” since last October, and their work will hang in the Windows Gallery at the museum in June and July. Plus, a series of members-only events include tippling topics like an apple-pressing demo, a cocktail class at Big Spring Spirits, a home brewing workshop and a winery tour.

6x6 Fundraiser & Exhibition
July 12, Art Alliance Gallery Downtown
The newest kid on the gallery block will host its inaugural summer fundraiser, which will feature an exhibit of works all 6 inches by 6 inches. The pieces will be for sale, with proceeds benefiting the Art Alliance Gallery Downtown. Plus, you can check out the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza right outside the gallery.


June 22-25, Schwab Auditorium
For a season that included Assassins and Cabaret, Camelot might seem tame for FUSE Productions, but Producing Artistic Director Richard Biever reminds us that the story of King Arthur and his knights has a universal power. “It’s about having idealism about what the world can be and starting to achieve that,” he says. “Of course it all kind of crumbles on King Arthur, but then there’s this little tiny spark of hope on the field of battle at the end.”

Boalsburg Historical Society Garden/Theatre Party
June 27, Boalsburg
Heritage Museum Lawn & Nittany Theatre at the Barn
It’s dinner and a show, Boalsburg style. Start your evening at the heritage museum for local food and a glass of wine, then settle in at the Boal Barn for Treasure Island, a dramatization of the classic swashbuckling novel, just one of a number of shows in Nittany Theatre’s summer stock schedule.


Bellefonte Cruise
June 16-17

Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival
July 5-9

Happy Valley Jam
July 8

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
July 13-16

July 15

People’s Choice Festival
July 13-16

Bellefonte Arts & Crafts Fair
Aug. 11-12

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