Looking for an exciting, fun-filled way to spend the 4th of July this year? If you live within driving distance of Central PA your search has ended.
State College, situated in the rolling green hills and fertile fields of Centre Country and home to Penn State University, is also the site of one of the country’s top-rated fireworks shows.
Now in its 8th year of organization by an all-volunteer group, Central PA 4th Fest has a variety of offerings for every age group.
Like to run or walk? Start your day off with the Firecracker 4K at 9 AM. The race winds its way through the Penn State campus and past the site of the evening’s fireworks. Over 800 runners and walkers participated in the race in 2008 and the organizers are hopeful that they will reach 1000 participants this year. Prizes are awarded for all age groups including top overall male and female runners.
Next on the schedule, at 1pm, is the State College Spikes vs. the Williamsport Crosscutters at Medlar Field. The Spikes are a Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates and their state-of-the-art stadium provides great seating for all. Tickets are priced from $6 to $11.
After the game you can walk to the 4th Fest Celebration activities which begin at 4pm. Here’s a partial list of what’s happening for the pre-fireworks show.
Music~at two different venues~rock, bluegrass, acoustic, country and patriotic songs at hourly intervals throughout the afternoon.
Food~free hot dogs and potato chips (donations accepted), a variety of classic carnival food from vendor’s row and a 14 foot long US flag cake that will be sliced and served at 6pm. It’s delicious!
Displays~a Civil War era living history group, helicopters, a Humm Vee, birds of prey from Shaver’s Creek Environmental Ctr., students from Penn State’s Astronomy and Astrophysics department, and actors dressed as historic characters, such as Ben Franklin, reading the Declaration of Independence.
Activities~Remote control car races sponsored by Nittany Line Hobbies, tethered balloon rides from Sky’s the Limit Ballooning ($), whiffle ball, kick ball, basketball and pitching at Penn State’s Field of Champions at Medlar field, face-painting and crafts with the contestants from PA’s Outstanding Young Woman pageant.
After an afternoon of food, fun, music and anticipation the main event, the fireworks, start at 9:15pm. Find a spot on the lawn, find a seat in Medlar field or purchase a VIP pass for the prime seats down close to the action (prices vary). Then sit back, tune your radio to 3WZ (WZWW 95.3) and watch the fantastic pyrotechnics display as it explodes in perfect synchronization with this year’s musical selections.
I have attended 4th Fest every year since it’s inception and every year it is bigger and better. General admission is free except for a parking fee of $10. a car. Come early for the activities and the food, stay late for the fireworks, the music and the dancing at the Street Dance with Local Motion DJs. There is so much to see and do at Central PA 4th Fest you’re sure to have a fantastic day.
If you need more information about volunteering, VIP passes, directions or lodging go to the 4th Fest website: http://www.4thfest.org/
Sources: http://www.4thfest.org/, http://www.4thfest.org/events_race.asp, http://www.4thfest.org/events_celebration.asp, http://www.4thfest.org/attend_vip.asp, http://www.4thfest.org/about_history.asp