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Here are some changes to expect at this year's Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

 People walking down the street of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts brings in thousands of people each year to downtown State College.

Thousands of festival-goers coming to this year’s Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will see a few changes, many driven by the festival’s new executive director, Pamela Snyder Etters.

“There's so much greatness about the festival that I don't want people to assume that I'm going to come in and make grand changes. You know, if it's not broken, don't fix it,” Snyder Etters said.

Snyder Etters wants to improve organization and rebuild excitement, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Her first order of business as executive director was to make an app to help people experience everything the festival has to offer. The app has a feature to schedule out the day based on when events are happening or when vendors are available.

Information will be updated in real time.

“If there's a thunderstorm in the area, if there's a time change for an event, we can send notifications out to folks that have the app, and they'll be able to see those things,” Snyder Etters said.

 Pamela Snyder Etters, the new executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
Sydney Roach
Pamela Snyder Etters is the new executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

Instead of buttons, people will need to purchase rubber wristbands to get into certain events.

Snyder Etters said more than half of this year’s performers are new to the festival, including Scythian, a "high-energy folk music" group out of the Washington D.C. area. Tierradentro is another new group to the festival that will have Argentinian folk music. There will still be many familiar musical groups returning from past years.

On Children and Youth Day on Wednesday, a new feature will be an “Alice in Wonderland” journey. Families will get to meet Alice and chase the White Rabbit through downtown to meet with other characters, build a hat and even play croquet.

Looking to the future, Snyder Etters wants to address parking complaints and other transportation issues. Next year, she hopes to have a partnership with a downtown bike shop for valet bike parking.

Sydney Roach is a reporter and host for WPSU with a passion for radio and community stories.