Campus Life

Central PA 4thFest fireworks set to light up the night sky July 4

During 2014, a grand display of more than 12,000 fireworks, synchronized to a musical soundtrack, glowed in the evening sky over Penn State's University Park campus on July 4. A dazzling ending to a full day of Independence Day celebrations throughout the region. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

While the Parade of Heroes and the Firecracker 4K Race will continue to be part of the Central PA 4thFest, new activities have been added to the daylong, family-friendly patriotic celebration, which culminates with one of the best fireworks displays in the nation.

More than 550 volunteers and 220 sponsors are involved in the year-round planning and organizing that goes into bringing the event together. The majority of activities take place on Penn State's University Park campus with a parade marching through downtown State College.

For the first time at 4thFest there will be a concert held in the VIP section and the firework's ground show will include lasers.

"People with a VIP viewing pass will get to enjoy two great shows on Saturday night," said Bernard G. Keisling Jr., executive director of 4thFest. "At 7:30 national recording country music artist Craig Morgan and his band will be performing on the Independence Stage, then by turning 180 degrees in your chair or blanket you can see the fireworks show which begins at 9:15."

Volunteers Jamie Salvaggio, left, and Bonnie Mayhew loaded 5-inch shells into mortar tubes at the staging area for the 2014 Central PA 4thFest. The annual fireworks show at 4thFest is an all volunteer event and rates as one of the top five largest 4th of July fireworks shows in America. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

The complete schedule of activities:

-- 9 a.m., Firecracker 4K Race, registration tent in front of the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office on Curtin Road

-- 2 p.m., Parade of Heroes, downtown State College

-- 2 p.m., food vendors open

-- 5:30, 7 and 8 p.m., BMX Bike & Rollerbladers Stunt Show, Founders Mall

-- 4 to 8 p.m., military equipment display, Curtin Road near Bryce Jordan Center

-- 4 to 8 p.m., Operation Thank-You tent, Curtin Road

-- 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m., pyrotechnics demonstration, Pyro Demo Tent

-- 4 to 8 p.m., nonprofit organization booths, Founders Mall

-- 4 to 8 p.m., 4thFest Freedom Franks, free hot dogs and chips, Curtin Road (near BJC)

-- 4 p.m., Kids crafts and face painting, Founder's Mall

-- 4 to 8 p.m., Shaver's Creek, Stadium West

-- 4 to 8:30 p.m., Penn State All-Sports Museum, Beaver Stadium

-- 4 to 8 p.m., historical characters, puppets and photo opportunities, Founders Mall

-- 5 to 9 p.m., Sky's the Limit ballooning, grassy field below Lot 44

-- 6 p.m., flag birthday cake, Stadium West

-- 6 to 7 p.m., State College Area Municipal Band, Nittanyville

-- 7:30 p.m., Craig Morgan concert, Independence Stage, VIP Viewing Area

-- 9 p.m., Declaration of Independence

-- 9:15 p.m., fireworks

-- 10:15 p.m., street dance with Chris Pond and the Stanley Street Band

While there is no admission fee for the fireworks, a suggested donation of $10 per car will be collected for general admission parking at the event.

Information on VIP concert and viewing passes is available on the 4thFest website.

For additional information on attending 4thFest events, donations, sponsorships and volunteer opportunities, visit the website at


Fireworks filled the sky over Beaver Stadium on July 4 as the 2014 Central PA 4th Fest culminated with a spectacular pyrotechnics show. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated June 21, 2017