Arts organization to hold summer festival at Penn State Wilkes-Barre

People attending an outdoor festival

Last year's Arts at Hayfield Summer Arts Festival on the campus of Penn State Wilkes-Barre. This year's event will be held August 27.

Credit: Penn State Wilkes-Barre

LEHMAN, Pa. — Members of the community are invited to attend the 37th annual Arts at Hayfield Summer Arts Festival, which will be held on the campus of Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event will feature more than 120 artisans, performers, crafters and food vendors from across Pennsylvania and will take place rain or shine.

Performances, which begin at 11 a.m. and will go throughout the day, will include folk rock, bluegrass, chamber music, magic, juggling, costumed storytelling and a roving violinist. Food vendors will serve a variety of festival foods including wraps, Middle Eastern foods, chicken tenders, potato pancakes, haluski, pierogies, pizza, hot dogs, smash burgers, funnel cakes, piggies, mac and cheese, desserts, fresh lemonade and ice cream.

From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., a craft tent will feature face painting and projects for children, along with a variety of special craft projects for all ages. Conversations, storytelling, crafts, art projects and photographs with costumed princesses and heroes will be held at the gazebo.

Penn State Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Violet Mager will host an open house at the Friedman Observatory from noon to 2 p.m. that focuses on the next major eclipse of the sun, happening April 2024. Penn State Master Gardeners will be available throughout the day to answer gardening questions.  

Three 45-minute tours of the historic Hayfield House will take place at 11 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. This is an opportunity to learn some local history about the house and the life and times of estate owners John and Bertha Conyngham. John Conyngham's interest in farming gave rise to Hayfield Farms in 1910. A DVD history of the farm that was made from primary sources to honor its 100th anniversary will be available for sale. 

The Summer Arts Festival coincides with the opening of a new exhibit on the Andrea Doria at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Friedman Art Gallery.

According to the History Channel, “On the night of July 25, 1956, a collision between the ocean liners SS Andrea Doria and MS Stockholm killed 51 people and prompted one of the largest civilian maritime rescues in history.” Within 11 hours, the ship sank and ended up at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Nantucket. The shipwreck became known as the “Mount Everest of Scuba Diving.”

As part of the grand opening for the exhibit, internationally acclaimed scuba diver Gary Gentile, who has gone to the wreck more than 200 times, will give a presentation at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. He will discuss his extensive diving adventures during two sessions in the Barry Auditorium, Nesbitt Academic Commons Building, Room 103, during the Arts at Hayfield Summer Arts Festival at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Gentile will lead a tour of the Friedman Art Gallery exhibit after his talks. The gallery display will feature many of the items recovered on Gentile’s dives. He is loaning Andrea Doria dishes, cups, plates, jewelry, ceramic panels by Italian painter Romano Rui and much more for the exhibit, “Gary Gentile: Dives to an Era,” which will run from Aug. 27 through Nov. 30.

The requested entry fee for the Summer Arts Festival is $2. Admission is free for students under 18 and college students with identification. Donations support an annual achievement award for arts-oriented campus students, public musical performances and arts programs offered to the community by other groups in the Wyoming Valley area. Donations also contribute to ongoing restoration projects at the Hayfield House and support other art enrichment events on the campus of Penn State Wilkes-Barre. 

For more information about the Summer Arts Festival, visit the website or YouTube channel or contact Janis Winter, festival chair, at 570-675-9232 or [email protected].