CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Some of the largest regional festivals in Centre county are doing things virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Central PA Festival of the Arts and the People’s Choice Festival out of Boalsburg are two of the largest annual festivals in the area that bring a large boost in the local economy and help many area businesses stay afloat during the summer.
Rick Bryant is the Director of the Central PA Arts Fest, he says this is this first time in nearly 50 years that the festival will not be lining the streets of downtown State College. Bryant says he job got significantly more challenging when they decided to convert the festival to online.
Carolyn Donaldson is a board member for the Central PA Arts Festival, she says there are still plenty of things available for folks to enjoy on the website. Everyday there will be live performances from area musicians and artists, activities for kids, and of course shopping with vendors from over 32 states. Carolyn says one of the unique things this year is the Arts Fest puzzle – which is a compilation of the Arts Fest posters that are arranged in a photo. The puzzles are selling fast and are available for $25 dollars.
Every year around this time hundreds of people and vendors gather on the lawn of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg for the People’s Choice Festival. John Madison is the Co-Director of the People’s Choice Festival, and he says he felt it was the festival’s responsibility to step up and give these artists a platform to sell their items in this difficult time. “It’s hurt everybody, it’s just been an economical disaster,” says Madison. While it was hard for him to imagine not having people physically there for the festival he said it was the only decision. “It would have been terrible out there in that field and having to wear a mask,” says Madison, “we would have had people dropping like flies in this 90 degree weather.” With all of the restrictions and guidelines for public gatherings, the committee knew that moving to online was the only option.