0004 Jammin at the Art Festival… well, sort of (USA 004—new)

State College Travel Blog

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             Day 001: 4 hours, 5.0 Kms

 This next town I suspect will be a lot different.  It’s in big, bold type on my map and goes by the name “State College”—so I don’t think it’s going to be another quiet back country town.

Nope.  The two lane road suddenly turns into a full size freeway, and a hulking football stadiums loom up into the sky.  Traffic is bumper to bumper as I enter this city which, as the name suggests, is built around an enormous college campus with stately academic building surrounded by lawns, gardens and trees.   I finally find a place to park a few blocks beyond the city center and quickly head backtrack on foot to start to explore the place.

It just happens to be that there’s a big Art Festival going on right now and all throughout the campus the walkways are lined with stalls where vendors show off their paintings, sculptures, and photography.  After spending the day in small towns, I almost feel like some of that culture rubbed off on me and I’m now a country hick discovering the “big city” for the first time!

I hike up and down each aisle, soaking in this more “blue state”, democrat atmosphere with it’s college students, hippies and people of  different backgrounds and lifestyles… I smile at the contrast with all I saw earlier this day.

I’m also looking for clues.  Clues that might show me where I should go or what I should do next.

  I take a couple of video clips, one in front of an enormous sand sculpture depicting a collection of toys.  Another in front of a mural of Civil War era soldiers next to people in modern attire… another in front of “The Main”, the university’s central building… and another on the main pedestrian street where a concert is being prepared.  All these give different facets of an experience that’s hard to encapsule in a single image.

But it’s actually photographer’s stall that give’s me my most insightful moment.  He has on display stunning images that he’s taken around the world: a street inEgyptpacked with men bowing in prayer… a breathtakingmountain viewinNepal… what struck me was the realization that his pictures are not just art, they are a reflection of his experience as a traveller and adventurer.

  And that seems to give it a whole new dimension and meaning. 

I wonder if someday I’ll have my own little stall at an Art Festival, showing off the music and art inspired by my travels, and inspiring a new generation of adventurers.

But right now I’m just barely getting started.  My new life of adventure is just barely a few hours old, so I don’t think it’s time for me to get up on a stage a try to impress people. I’ve got to let this Dream build up slowly.  So I finally look for a quiet bench away from the din of the festival and play my songs, seemingly unnoticed by the passerbys.

There’s one more thing I need to do before leaving State College:  find some food!  I’ve been so busy discovering and experiencing that I’ve almost forgotten about my physical needs.

  I find a back alley joint that serves big pizza pieces by the slice—a popular place, I guess, for the college crowd.

Then I bid State College farewell.  I have a bittersweet feeling about the experience… on one hand it was a really fun, relaxing discovery… on the other hand, I have this feeling that it could’ve been so much more if I were just a bit more prepared with my music… Maybe I could’ve done more than just play on a lonely bench. 

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State College
photo by: portia