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May 29, 2014 / festivalbanner

Big News!

We’ve been working like beavers over the past few weeks to update the Festival’s website. I’m not talking about the seasonal tweaks here and there, or just changing the names of the artists and performers, but a whole-hog, soup to nuts, flat-out do-over. Yup, we’ve decided it’s time for a total makeover. It’s not a decision that we took lightly!

We’ve been working with Courtney Hunt and Sean Pearson of the Denovati Group. They’re located in Chicago and in Virginia–in cyberspace, actually–but after working with us for some time, they know the festival like nobody’s business.

We started the process with a digital audit last year–made possible by one of our longtime donors. Courtney and her team analyzed our online presence–not just our website, but our social media footprint, as well. (Who knew that arts festivals needed a LinkedIn page?) As you can imagine we were doing well in some places and not so well in others. We first tackled the low-hanging fruit, but a few months later, we’re doing the hard work of creating a new, visually exciting and content rich website.  One of the things we’re most excited about is that it will be easier for our audience to share content from our site across the variety of social media platforms they use. So, we’ll be marketing the festival in one of the most effective ways possible–though word of mouth, er, I guess that would be keyboard. (Times change, metaphors don’t. Soon to be on a t-shirt near you!)

So, take a gander at at the end of next week. We hope you’ll like what you see–and don’t see too! And by all means, please let us know. We don’t work in a vacuum. Your feedback will make our website better, and the festival better, too!

May 6, 2014 / festivalbanner

There’s an app in our future!

Harry and Keith B

Keith Han and Harry Robinson came by to demonstrate the official Festival phone app.

One of the great things about living in a college town is getting to work with students and faculty doing research that could change our lives. This summer, the festival is working with doctoral students in Penn State’s School of Information, Science, and Technology. Keith Han and Harry Robinson are creating an official Festival app as part of their research into building communities through mobile computing.  How cool is that?

We’ve worked with Harry for several years– we first collaborated with him in 2009, when we’d borrowed some Seward Johnson sculptures from The Sculpture Foundation. He helped us organize a photo contest where audience members would submit photos they took of the sculpture with the phones.

Erik Anderson

Seward Johnson’s work “Holding Out” and some new friends.

Back then flip phones were the norm and smart phones were the way of the future. Today, flip phones are going the way of the dodo, and smart phones are de rigueur for everyone from high school kids to  hipsters to soccer moms to folks at the local retirement community. A Festival app will help us connect with our smart phone-toting audience.

While it’s still in the development stage, our app will contain info on both the performers at the Festival and our artists, too. You should be able to use it to find a food vendor, or the john, or to say that you like a certain performer. Because this is a research project, it won’t be cluttered with ads from, Angry Birds–The Big Ten Edition, or any anything else.

So, keep your fingers crossed–we’re hoping to have it available at the App Store and the Droid Marketplace in just a few weeks.

July 17, 2013 / festivalbanner

End of the Festival/Hold-It

Arts Festival 2013 has drawn to a close, and the volunteers and staff who make it happen are filled with a mixture of sorrow and relief.
As relieved and tired as our volunteers may be, the Arts Festival office hasn’t quite calmed down yet. There is still clean up to be done, boxes to be mailed, and so many trips to Hold-It to make.

Hold-It is the self storage unit where we store much of the junk we only use during the festival. The past few days have been full of trips transporting stools, program racks, miscellaneous puppets, large wooden jester cutouts, tables, extension chords, banners, and god knows what else out to Hold-It. In the 90 degree heat.

Yesterday I made the mistake of asking Rick if we had made our last trip to Hold-It for the summer, and he responded “Yeah, in your fantasy life.” and laughed. Which was disheartening.

Hold-It isn’t all bad. The 10 minute air conditioned drive there and back is a welcome break from the heat. Sometimes you find fun junk out there, like an old piano or vintage posters. I honestly really love the Hold-It unit that stores all of the puppets used in the Children’s Day 1010031_10201692300015667_1404911422_nparade. They look so colorful and fun and full of personality, just waiting for the next Children’s Day. I should mention that I helped load all of those puppets out of the unit, onto the Hold-It moving van, distributed them to children, recollected them, and reloaded them into the unit, so I love the puppet unit even though I have a pretty decent reason to resent it. It’s so perfectly whimsical.

That being said, there are a lot of frustrating aspects to Hold-It, such as stubbed toes, heavy lifting, and adhering to Rick’s sometimes enigmatic organizational system. (While this system is frustrating, it is also necessary, for without it, our Hold-It units would descend into chaos).

So even though the festival is over, our work is far from done! Festival prep and cleanup is full of tasks that the average festival-goer may not have even known was necessary. The most prominent of these discreet tasks is, without a doubt, the seemingly endless trips to Hold-It.

– Louise Page, Festival Intern

July 12, 2013 / festivalbanner

A Fabulous Start to the Festival!

The festival is off to a lovely start!

Although Wednesday morning met us with rain, it stopped by the time Children’s Day began, and gave way to sun for the rest of the afternoon.

The first day of the Sidewalk Sale went off without a hitch! The day was sunny, the crowds were huge, the art was  incredible and the performances were all a ton of fun.

Make sure you come downtown to check out the festival today!

Things to look forward to:988674_10151605056439064_560862202_n

  • performances by:
    • Callan
    • JT & the Denicats
    • DNA
    • Pepper Lotus Tribal
    • Slackwater News
    • JD Eicher & the Goodnights
    • Vinegar Creek Constituency
    • Ted McCloskey & the HiFi’s
    • Sunny Weather
    • Essence of Joy Alumni Choir
    • Cassie & Maggie MacDonald
    • Bovine Social Club
    • Mark DeRose & the Dreadnought Brigade
    • The Ultra Kings
    • Mac Arnold & Plate Full o Blues
    • Bethesda
    • JP Harris & the Tough Choices
  • Delicious Festival Food such as…
    • chicken on a stick
    • funnel cake
    • kettle corn
    • India Pavillion
    • & more!
  • Beautiful Jewelry, Photography, Sculpture, Paintings, Fiber Art, and much more fine art and craft products
  • The Silent Auction, which can be found at the corner of Beaver and Allen

This is only a sampling of all the fun to found downtown and on the Penn State Campus this weekend! Please come check us out.

The Festival is here!

– Louise Page, Festival Intern

July 5, 2013 / festivalbanner

An Interview with Jennifer Float

Jennifer Float is the designer of our fabulous Owl t-shirt (available at as well as  one of our 2013 Sidewalk Sale Artists.

Her adorable t-shirt design has been pretty popular on our online store, which lead me to ask her about her inspiration for the sassy little owl. She gave me some fascinating background about how she began using owls in her artwork. Owl_T

“I have been creating Owls in my art for a couple years,” said Float. “The first one turned out to be a bit of a self portrait when I put glasses on it.  (I generally take out my contacts and wear glasses if I am painting all day) Each owl ends up with their own personality that grows organically.  I can not reproduce the exact same thing, even if they are similar, there might be a certain tilt to the head or beak or body…and the Eyes always come out differently.”

Jennifer was excited to create an owl infused with Arts Festival personality:

“When they asked me to design the T Shirt again this year I thought I bright, Funky, Whimsical Owl could really capture the spirit of a such a Fun Festival and I just started putting bright color on canvas, then waited to see what happened next, which were Bigger flower shaped eyes and a brighter body.”

I asked Jennifer what her funniest Festival memory was, and she replied

“The funniest thing that happened to me there was tearing down the last day in the Rain!  My mom had come to the show to help me through the weekend and we worked as fast as we could and I literally RAN across the campus to where my truck was parked.  By the time I got back it had started to really come down and my poor mom was standing under a big umbrella with as much artwork around her as she could protect.  I just started laughing, she looked so sad in the rain and we were both soaked by the time we got everything packed up.  So after that, we treated ourselves to Margaritas and hot showers.”

This is an excellent reminder that the Festival is a rain or shine event. The Festival is still fun in the rain, just make sure you have some cocktails and hot water on hand for post-rain recovery!

Jennifer was very kind about our Arts Festival, commenting that “everyone is so friendly and fun!” and “there is definitely something special about State College.

Be sure to check out Jennifer’s booth at the 2013 Sidewalk Sale as well as her owl t-shirt available on our online store.

Only five days til the Festival!

– Louise Page, Festival Intern


July 2, 2013 / festivalbanner

New Copier

One day in the Festival office

The copier was causing great losses

It was constantly jamming

We were heartily “god damn!”ing

We needed our copies to always be flawless

So Rick and Trey went off on a journeynewcopier!

Away from the office they scurried

Nittany Office and staff

Cut our worries in half

And gave us a loaner copier in a hurry

Now our copies are really top notch

And come out with not even a blotch

Thanks to Linc, Tom, and Paul

Who gave it their all

Their customer service is something to watch

Thank you so much Nittany Office Equipment! Special thanks to Paul Kerr, Linc King, and Paul Long.

– Louise Page, Festival Intern

July 2, 2013 / festivalbanner


The annual Banner contest is a very exciting Arts Festival tradition, and it just so happens to be the inspiration for the name of our blog!

Yesterday I was privy to the very secretive, formal, ritualistic banner judgement process. (If you can’t tell that the previous sentence is dripping with sarcasm, now would be a good time to inform you that next to nothing about the Arts Festival/Festival prep is formal, secretive, or ritualistic.)

Anyways, the judges were ranking the banners based on: Image

  • durability
  • creativity
  • originality
  • craftsmanship
  • will the banner look good from the street?

All nine banners we received this year were absolutely beautiful, and I did not envy the task the judges had at hand.

They had three categories of banners to judge: youth, general, and professional, and all three categories were filled with truly great pieces.

Now for the curious part of the banner judging: we have a mystery banner!

One of the beautiful banners we received came with the name of the artist: Diane Kenna, and the name of the banner: Tribal StarFeather Dance sewn into the banner. Image

The banner was missing the sheet the artists are supposed to fill out with their contact information, so we have no way of contacting Diane if her banner wins anything! 

If you have any additional information on our mystery banner, please let us know ;)

Keep your eyes peeled for the to be announced banner winners and for the banners flying high above the festival!

8 days til Festival :)

– Louise Page, Festival Intern


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