Banners fly, shop windows are festively decorated and streets are crowded with artists and crafts people in the little university town of State College, Pa. It's midsummer and time for the annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, a five-day event that opens July 12 and will bring about 100,000 visitors to town.
Opening day is Children & Youth Day, when programs and activities are planned for young people. There will be visual and performing-arts workshops, hands-on art activities, plays, children's films and storytelling, as well as performances by the National Marionette Theatre, the Squonk Opera, and the New York Chinese Cultural Center & Chinese Folk Dance Company. A highlight of the day will be the Children & Youth Day Parade at 4 p.m., featuring giant puppets, performers and all who wish to join.
The 29th annual Sidewalk Sale & Exhibition opens July 13 and continues for the remaining four days. Recognized as one of the best regional juried shows in the country, the exhibition features 325 artists and fine crafts people from all over the country. Booths will be set up on the campus of Penn State University and in the surrounding streets of the borough. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
In addition, festival-goers can choose from more than 80 performances by national, regional and local entertainers at five separate locations throughout the festival.
Festival admission is free, as are most of the performances, but some require admission by a button, which costs $4 and is good for any festival event charging admission. Parking is best at Beaver Stadium on Route 322. Shuttle service is available to the festival. Call (800) 358-5466 or (814) 237-3682.
Down on the farm
A visit to the Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run in McLean, Va., is a step into the past, where you see the work of a lower-class farm of the Colonial period.
Three times a year the farm holds an 18th-Century Market Fair, and one will take place July 15-16, weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The fair is a gathering place for hawkers, militiamen, a tailor, a chandler (candle maker), a cordwainer (shoemaker), a milliner and others who would have been present 200 years ago. Stalls are set up to sell fresh vegetables and fruits that were grown in the 18th century. At other stalls you'll find ladies and men's fashions of the period and handmade toys. There will also be a stall where colognes, medicines, furniture polish and insect repellent are made and sold.
A tinsmith, a blacksmith, a barrel maker, a rug hooker, a shoemaker and other crafts people will be plying their trades, and visitors will be able to dip candles, help with the spinning and grind herbs and spices to make potpourri. Each activity costs $1, but you keep what you make.
At the fair you'll also find an 18th-century orchestra playing dance music and a Colonial dance instructor. In addition, there will be a fire eater, a puppet show and period games. Chicken and sausages will be roasted over an open fire, and other 18th-century fare will be for sale. Stop by the tavern for a glass of ale or some fish-house punch.
Admission is $3 for adults; $1.50 for seniors and ages 3 to 12. The farm is at 6310 Georgetown Pike in McLean. Call (703) 442-7557.
Lotuses at Lilypons
Lotus blossoms in full bloom set the stage for the 15th annual Lotus Blossom Festival July 15-16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lilypons Water Garden near Buckeystown.
Visitors can wander through acres of lily ponds and hear singer-composer Ray Owens and the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra. Entertainer Jerry Brown will also be there both days to provide a little magic and fun. There will be lectures on planning and installing water gardens, and Washington landscape designer Joel Lerner and Philip Swindells, a master gardener and landscape architect from England, will give talks and offer gardening advice. Crafts people will be selling their wares.
Admission is free, but a parking donation of $4 will be requested to benefit the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra. The gardens are three miles south of Buckeystown. Call (301) 874-5133.
Winterthur pops concert
The grounds of Winterthur Museum and Gardens near Wilmington will be the site of the sixth annual County Pride Pops Concert featuring the Delaware Symphony Orchestra July 15.
Gates open at 3 p.m. Children can enjoy activities at the new Touch-It tent. At 5 p.m., weather permitting, 10 colorful hot-air balloons will lift off and hover over the site. At 7 p.m. the balloons will return and be illuminated from within. Spectators can bring a picnic or purchase food on the grounds.
The program begins at 5 p.m. with gospel tunes by Linda Henry & the Daughters of Faith, followed by jazz musician Gerald Chavis. At 7 p.m. the orchestra will perform a selection of songs from the big-band era and patriotic World War II music. During the finale of the "1812 Overture," 16 cannons will be fired.