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Find Your Flavor of Happy in the Summer Traditions of "Happy Valley"
If Pennsylvania’s “Happy Valley” was deemed happy even in the financial fluctuations of the Great Depression, how much more happiness is there to be discovered today in vibrant Penn State and its surrounding regions? Find your happy in an array of longstanding Penn State traditions, beloved by locals and visitors alike.
When it comes to “Happy Valley” culinary traditions, there is much here to adopt as one of your own summer traditions. Penn State Berkey Creamery has attained legendary status by its takes on America’s favorite dessert. From its more original flavors—like Arboretum Breeze (a mixture of mint vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, and raspberry swirl) and Grilled Stickies (cinnamon bun ice cream with sticky bun dough pieces and cinnamon streusel)—to its superior versions of classic flavors like peanut butter cup and chocolate, it’s clear that the cream of Penn State’s food scientist crop have found the formula for a satisfying summer scoop. The Corner Room, first opened in 1855 and then renamed in 1926, is a landmark destination for both locals and out-of-towners, dependably serving comfort food favorites like beer-battered onion rings and sausage and biscuit pot pie.
The region is also home to some of the best time-honored outdoor fairs, which draw multitudes of visitors from surrounding areas each year. As one of the best fine art and craft shows in the nation since it began in 1967, the Central PA Festival of the Arts in State College is not to be missed. From July 13-17th, more than three hundred vendors will display their one-of-a-kind wares that include jewelry, paintings, clothing, hand-woven baskets, and pottery. Curated entertainment, handcrafted spirits, and a competition involving hundreds of colorful, customized banners submitted by local community organizations only add to the timeless, convivial atmosphere. The 2022 Grange Fair in Centre County, an annual fair and camping event which started almost 150 years ago, is the summer highlight for thousands of visitors. Some attendees are fixtures of the tradition itself, returning to the same camping spot for generations—all in order to enjoy the giggle-inducing rides, delectable food, amusing animal shows, and electrifying concerts.
The history proper of “Happy Valley” can be explored from various angles at the Pennsylvania Military Museum and Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park. Pennsylvania Military Museum offers permanent exhibits on subjects like Sea Power and Tactics as well as an extensive collection of military artifacts by which the story of Pennsylvania’s servicemen and women can be told. Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park, a rare water cavern and farm-nature-wildlife park, is a stunning natural landmark discovered by Seneca Indians and surrounded by intriguing local lore (from which Penn State’s Nittany Lion received its name) worthy of your own discovery.
For more information about things to do and see, visit the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau website. Book your stay at a nearby Bed & Breakfast.