Twenty seven years of ArtsFest buttons in one place..

The Arts Fest is coming next week. Officially, it happens starting the first Wednesday following the first Monday following the Fourth of July. The first I attended was 1980. I had made it to the area on July 1, 1979, but a local friend told me it wasn’t worth the hassle to drive (from Pennsylvania Furnace) into State College for the Festival that first year. After a few years I was married and living in State College, and we longed to have a baby in a pack at the Fest. In ’86 we had a two-month-old, and I don’t think we risked burning her delicate skin in the July sun. In ’87, the three of us were on the lawn.

Festival week was crazy at the restaurant. I had Wednesday off - Children’s Day - but afternoons and evenings the rest of the week were fully staffed, and insane. Especially late. Artists and musicians celebrating. When I left the restaurant, I left in the beginning of July. I’d helped prep for the Fest, but then I was gone. A gift to myself, the opportunity to attend. By this time I was divorced, the kid was older, and I couldn’t just plunk her in a pack. She had wants of her own, and her days with me didn’t involve much Festival. Maybe some music, but certainly no strolling through the booths.

The first button, at the top above, was a buck in 1991. Pretty cheap. Now, in 2018, they’re ten bucks. Still pretty cheap, I think. They’ve gotten smaller physically over time, too. That makes sense; cut a little bit of cost as long as ushers can still easily see them on special event attendees. One thing that didn’t make sense was selling a “youth button” for a reduced fee in 2011, ’12, and ’13. (Second to last row, looking like pairs.) They weren’t even marked as child or adult. I had one of each and never knew which to wear when my kid wasn’t along. And several years, no year was printed on the button. 40th Anniversary doesn’t have a year. Lucky the 50th Anniversary did.

This year’s button, lower right, seems important for two things: The jester is a female for the first time (as was the designer) and it has a little  DOWN TOWN  sponsorship ad on it. What’s up with that?

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