A State College Summer
White and orange construction signs begin to creep up around town.
Talk of 'Arts Fest' reunions become common.
And the local residents cannot be happier.
In time, so too will the students who have chosen to stay.
Summer in State College, like the area itself, is unique. As Penn State begins it's summer sessions and many full-time students leave town to regroup, celebrate, or maybe just relax, there are those that are fortunate enough to spend time in State College.
Summer's in State College move slow. As they days grow longer, the town seems to relax and take in the sun. Grilling outside and outdoor functions occur on an almost daily basis. The rainy days are atypical, and better yet almost always seem to come and help cool after a particular hot or humid day. The stress of day to day life has rather been substituted for the joy of day to day life.
Here are some of the things to look forward to in State College this Summer.
1.) Baseball Games
The State College Spikes, The youth leagues, the Lemont Ducks and maybe just playing whiffleball with friends and family in a back yard. If there was ever a sport for summer it's baseball. It's competitive but it takes time. It allows you to enjoy the game while taking in the sensory of summer, from the smells of freshly cut grass, maybe the taste of a hot dog with ketchup, or a soothing sip of your favorite beverage. No other sport will allow you to take in the smells and tastes of summer quite like a baseball game. Even if you don't know anything about the rules of baseball (which I must say, has to be pretty close to impossible, because I don't know a single person who has not played at least once in their lifetime) the ability to just be out watching a game is a tremendous feeling.
2.) The Backyard
Long overdue for some action, I'm betting that most of us haven't thought about the backyard for some time. With the cold of winter gone, the outdoors have become very inviting. So much so that we want to share that experience with others. Perhaps you have a game of horse shoes set up, or just want to have people over and grill burgers and chat. You could play bocce ball, set up a make-shift golf course or whiffleball field. Take some time this summer and spend it at the back of the house.
3.) The Fourth of July
I'm sure there are other shows that are better. But in all likelihood there aren't many. The 4thfest fireworks have been regarded as one of the best shows in the United States. So unless you went to Philadelphia, Boston, or New York, odds are that the best chance to see a great firework show would be right here in State College. As someone who grew up in State College, I must say that sometimes the wonderment of the event has slightly diminished. However, every time I've seen the show, be it from a parking deck downtown, the outside hills of University Terrace or at the outer edge of Lemont, I still can't help but feel touched and thankful for the birth of this great country.
4.) Arts Fest
Streets close and downtown becomes busy as families, alumni, art aficionados, and people looking for something to do come back for this non-profit event. Over 500 people volunteer their time and effort to help make the event possible as vendors sell all kinds of art pieces ranging in simplistic kid themed items, to paintings and sculptures that would impress any art critic. While the sheer volume of people can make the experience overwhelming at times, specifically any kind of dining experience, without a doubt it's one of the best times to get together with friends you may have met at Penn State in a sort of Summer reunion type atmosphere.
5.) Tussey Mountain Wingfest
As summer winds down, appetites do not. In fact, I would guess that most people are a bit tired of attempting to keep their beach body. And that's where Wingfest comes in. As the sun begins to set on the season, Wingfest comes with some of the best things that I can think of. Live music, burgers, beer, chicken tenders and more wings covered in sauce than can be imagined. Even if you can only go for one day, it will be one of the best memories of the summer.
6.) Whipple Dam
State College does not have a beach. The Jersey Shore does. Yet somehow the water and people at Whipple seem infinitely more pleasant. Less than twenty minutes away from downtown state college, a nice oasis, where you can some of the pleasure of sand and water without traveling over 100 miles to do so.
Two huge theaters that feature all the major motion pictures, as well as The State Theatre that features quality independent, foreign, and documentary films. If you can't see a movie this summer, it's due to lack of effort, not lack of venues.
I'm sure there's more than that, in fact I'm betting tons. So if you can think of some you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment, and let people know about the other things to do in State College. Or heck, if you're a Penn State alum living somewhere else, feel free to share what you'll be doing there. Summer time is here, and everyone should be in a happy place, especially if you hail from happy valley.