It is always much more fun to prepare for a party than it is to clean up afterward. But when it was 5 p.m. Sunday with intense storming clouds rolling into State College, it was time for everyone to go home. Except for our staff we still had plenty to do.
Tearing down a party for over 125,000 is a challenge. But when it rains throughout the four hour cleanup, it is even more challenging! Everything and everyone were soaked. But that didn’t matter. We have to take the Festival apart quickly, so that the streets of State College can return to normal. The banners that hung over Allen Street were laid out to dry in the social hall of the State College Presbyterian Church. The fence around the Festival Shell Stage and the fabric cover for Artist Embassy took shelter in our Hold It storage unit, along with tons of other miscellaneous things. All the silent auction pieces were rushed back to the office to ensure they remained dry, with their beauty preserved.
Personally, I found it amazing at how many people are willing to help and will just take charge of a situation, regardless what else is going on. I was thinking to myself how long it was going to take to get the roads reopened and everything put back where it came from. But with the help of some really great people, all knowing what they needed to do, the process was actually pretty painless. If we weren’t being tested on how well we actually work together by the rain, it would have taken even less time to break down the Festival.
People always find it astounding when they hear that our staff is made up of about three full time people. We have a few coordinators and board members, but their full time responsibility isn’t the Festival. But whether you were a staff member, volunteer, board member or dedicated Festival helper, we all came together to cleanup one of the greatest events to take place in State College.
It was an amazing five days. We couldn’t have asked for better Festival weather, except for Sunday night. The performances were incredible, the art was beautiful and overall it seemed as though everyone who visited State College had a tremendous time. As a staff, we of course had a few obstacles to overcome, but nothing was too big for our team. Everyone brings something unique and different to this great office. Some are jokesters, some are strictly business, some will do anything for you and others prefer to do their own thing.
The staff and volunteers continue to amaze me. With all that they do for the Festival. They don’t get all the credit it deserves.
Just a few days ago I was talking to Rick and Carol about some differences I’ve noticed between living in Philadelphia and State College. Many of these are just like calling dinner, supper to actually being able to buy one pen in Nittany Office Equipment. They literally have tons of pens that you can buy individually. I don’t think you can do that in Philadelphia. People even drive a little nicer around here.
But on Saturday, State College’s small town charm glowed for all to see. When I arrived to the parking lot on Nittany Avenue and noticed some of the streets already closed, I wondered how residents around here handled having their town filled with detours for a week. I tried to imagine how that would go in my neighborhood and I can’t imagine it would be accepted all that well. People do not like to be displaced or have their routines altered. But that is exactly what will happen to the heart of State College for the next week.
As I walked down streets that are usually filled with traffic, people looked and sometimes wondered what we were doing, but no one bothered us. No one seemed upset about the roads being closed. And I wondered if it was because they knew of the great Festival that would take place in just a few days or was it different bred of people here in Happy Valley?
As I drove on a forklift with Pap (Mr. Baney) up and down the usually hustling and bustling Allen Street to drop off load after load of materials used to created structures, we chatted. He told me that next week would be his wife’s birthday and that they would be married for 54 years. His daughter, Carol would 50 years old next month. His son, Allen, who owns Avant Garden was on vacation, but came this past Sunday. Pap barely knew me, but yet he shared details of his life with me. That made me realize that there are neighbors on my very own block whose name I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love where I live and the neighborhood I grew up in, but it’s very different from State College.
People are willing to go the extra mile for some that isn’t their friend, they’re willing to lend a hand when someone is in need without wanting something in return, they give the person the time of day when someone calls.
On Saturday, I noticed the people around me, most of them from the State College Presbyterian Church who were there to help their friend Rick. I’d like to think that back home if I needed help putting together one of the largest festivals in the country, people would help me. But the way these people were willing to do anything they could to help. Always asking what else needs to be done? What should I do now? It was quite refreshing.
This Festival brings together nearly 500 people who make it all happen; some volunteers, staff members, board members, etc. But these 500 people manage to bring together over 125,000 people to State College. And for four days, or however long you visit the Festival, you’ll get a chance to experience State College’s small town charm. While you’re here, notice the things around you that are different from your community. Take a look around at State College and notice that it is more than just the town next to Penn State.
The 46th annual Festival may come and go, but these small towns across America will hopefully remain forever.
How do they do it all? With so many booths as well as performances, Children & Youth Day, Italian Street Painting Festival, educational opportunities and more, it’s a wonder how the Arts Festival staff gets it all done. The woman behind the fundraising component is Diane Bloom, and she certainly has her hands full. It is Diane’s responsibility to secure funding in terms of annual fund monies and sponsorship.
The process of securing sponsorships begins in February. Although numerous sponsors have participated for many years, it is always necessary to reach out for new sponsors. Initial contact is made through mail solicitation, followed up by email and phone calls.
Some local businesses show their support by sponsoring a component of the Festival. Sponsors receive recognition for their partnership with the Festival through listing on the Web site, Official Program Guide, sponsor towers, etc. Each sponsor receives a final report following Festival that includes the exposure they received as a result of participating as a sponsor. Sponsorship opportunities include:
- Sponsorships come in the form of:
- Artist Awards
- Food court dining areas
- Italian Street Painting Festival
- Vendor booths
- Merchandise booth
- Silent auction barn
- Three information booths
- Sand sculpture
Annual fund gifts come from people who realize how important the Festival is to the community and wish to see it continue and thrive, including, of course, Penn State alums. An initial solicitation is sent in April, followed up by reminders in June.
Getting sponsors and receiving donations for such a large event (and also for First Night® State College) takes a significant amount of time, and it’s a huge task for one person. Somehow she manages to get it done year after year!
In this world where there’s an app for everything, don’t think for a second your Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts isn’t getting in on the action. Although not out publicly yet, by the start of the Festival, Android users will have access to Festival information in the palm of their hand. You’ll be able to like and comment on artists and events, just like on Facebook. You’ll even be able to bookmark an artists’ page for future reference, so that you can remember who had that picture you want to buy. There are lists of performers with their times and locations. You can click on a stage and find out who will be performing there that day and what time. There’s even an icon to remind you what performances require a button.
This isn’t a commercially developed app, but part of a research project being conducted at Penn State’s Information Science and Technology (IST) School. Penn State Ph.D candidate, Keith Han, came into the office on Tuesday to show the staff his newly created app. As amazed as we all were, to him it was just another day in the IST world. He has lived in this country less than three years, but he created something the four Americans sitting across from him thought was nothing short of amazing.
Han, Blaine Hoffman, and Harry Robinson have created an in-depth, interactive social media app to help artist fans of all ages. They are conducting a research project in hopes to find out how people of different ages use social media. They want to find out how people get from point A to point B and what they click on to get there. Penn State Professors Jack Carroll and Mary Beth Rosson oversee this research project through the Computer-Supported Collaboration and Learning Lab at Penn State.
Once the app is available to the public, Keith, Harry and Blaine will be looking for at least 100 participants to download the app and use it during the Festival. I was bummed when I found out it was only for Android users. Having an iPhone is amazing and I can only hope that all the Android users make this app so popular that Apple takes it on as well!
Once again, the Arts Festival does what it can to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and hope our Festival appeals to those of all ages.
I will link it to our website for Android users to be able to download once it is available! Until then, remember that time when there were no apps?
Just as we received the last of the children’s day applications in the mail, postmarked June 22, it got me thinking about Wednesday July 11. At first, Children’s Day was sort of an odd concept to me. I had so many questions. Do these kids actually sell their items? How much money could they possibly make? Do more adults or children buy their art? What sorts of items do these children make? But as time has gone on, I’ve realized that Children’s Day is totally awesome.
After looking at a few pictures of the items that some of these children will be making, I know I’ll definitely be hunting down some booths! An hour after I posted on the Festival’s Facebook page, the picture of Zach Raupach’s cutting boards, my mom called me to find out what other kinds of cutting boards he is making. His cutting boards are amazing. So I know I’ll be stopping by his booth. Another item that really caught my attention was something that looked like bowls made out of old records. I don’t think they are actual records, but the bowl is definitely made out of something resembling them. They looked so interesting, that I must see them in person! I’m also a very big jewelry person so I cannot wait to see all the different jewelry that kids have made!
And from what I’ve heard, the procession at 4 p.m. is something one should not miss. I went to the Festival’s storage site at Hold It with Rick and saw the storage bay filled with puppets. The puppets are incredible. Each one has so much detail and the work put into them looked endless. After watching children sell their adorable art all day and then to watch this procession of puppets, it is shaping up to be one of my favorite days!
The sun beams through the windows of the office every afternoon and the smell of fresh copies fills the air when I walk in. Another afternoon at the office awaits me. At the Arts Festival office many things happen in a day’s work.
Recently my work has been consisting of preparing packets with information as well as getting volunteer buttons ready. This past week I delivered festival buttons around town to be sold at stores along College Avenue and Atherton Street. We also received this year’s posters and they are now available to the public in our office. As the Arts Festival is quickly approaching many papers need to be copied as well as mailed so my days tend to be filled with finishing these projects and preparing them to be sent out.
Though the Festival is quickly approaching, the air is still calm in the office. I’m looking forward to the start of the festival to see how everything is organized and it all comes together.