Central PA 4th Fest


Website: Central PA 4th Fest
Address: Bryce Jordan Center, 127 Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA 16802

The fireworks show at the Central PA 4th Fest is one of the best in the entire nation.  Incomprehensibly huge, and choreographed with expert skill to contemporary music played through the radio stations, it is a spectacle not to be experienced anywhere else.  So great is the show that 4th Fest has long been touted as one of the best fireworks displays in the entire country, and that’s not puffery.  All the extra events through the day are enough on their own to make a great festival.  In this case, they truly are icing on the cake.

The fireworks have been around for decades but the other events are relatively new.  To its immense credit, 4th Fest has worked very hard in short time to create a premiere celebration for our country’s birthday.  Most of the events go down at the Founders Mall and Town Square, areas erected for the festival.  There are plenty of free games and crafts for kids hosted by volunteers and local clubs.  For the family are carnival rides including a large ferris wheel, kiddie rides, and a dragon coaster.  Be sure to check out the All-Sports Museum located inside Beaver Stadium where there is always something crazy and cool going on.  Here too is 4th Fest Freedom Franks, a community cookout serving free hotdogs and chips.  In addition to, there are nearly two dozen food vendors serving plenty of the festival favorites like snow cones, funnel cakes and sandwiches.

4th Fest pays great homage to the military heritage of our nation, which is extremely fitting for the holiday.  Events cover the spectrum of interactive and engaging to austere and respectful.  The fest starts with a parade of heroes which travels through town.  Through the afternoon, military machinery is on display in front of the stadium.  While there, be sure to sign an appreciation card through Operation Thank-You.  In the fields near the VIP tents, the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry recreates Civil War era life with military demonstrations.  At 6:00PM, the Volunteers march out of camp and read the declaration of Independence.  Following promptly is the cutting of a massive, fourteen foot long cake, which is served to all the visitors as everyone sings Happy Birthday to the country!

Admission is free.  Parking requests a ten dollar donation to help ensure the festival’s continuation.  Traffic, especially after the fireworks, is severe.

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