First Night State College takes place in a variety of venues in downtown State College and on the University Park campus of Penn State. Visitors will find musical performances in churches, for example, vaudeville shows and resolution exhibits in public buildings, and ice carving on South Allen Street and in Sidney Friedman Park.
Ice skating takes place in the Pegula Ice Arena on Penn State’s campus. Unless otherwise noted, all venues are accessible to those using wheelchairs.
Click on the + below to learn more about each venue and get directions via Google Maps.
2000 Degrees Pottery was opened in July 1999 by Kimberly and Gary Filkins. Their mission was to provide a comfortable, relaxing, creative experience for their customers. The store is enjoyed by children from 2 years to 80 years old. Come join the fun and create a Resolution Mug.
Bryce Jordan Center opened in 1995, and with over 15,000 seats, it is the largest arena between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In addition to serving as the home court for Penn State’s men and women’s basketball teams, the BJC hosts concerts, circuses, and commencement ceremonies for both Penn State and State College Area High School. The arena is named for Bryce Jordan, who served as Penn State’s president from 1983 to 1990.
Founded in 1909 as Faith Reformed Church, Faith United Church of Christ is an open and affirming inclusive faith community. The church building, considered one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Pennsylvania, was constructed in the heart of the Great Depression, and dedicated in 1932. Romig Hall, site of the First Night Cafe, is located in the lower level of the church’s education wing.
The first unit of the State College High School opened its doors in September 1914. Located on Fraser Street between Nittany and Fairmount Avenues, the school building has been added to several times. It is now the home of the State College Area School District’s Delta Program. The school auditorium is entered from Fairmount Avenue.
The Grace Lutheran Church building is a modernist landmark at the corner of Garner Street and Beaver Avenue. The church building, designed by Harold E. Wagoner of Philadelphia, was modeled after Le Corbusier’s famous Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamps, France. Wagoner also assisted in the design of the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Today Grace Lutheran church is affectionately called “The Dorito Church” by Penn State students.
When visitors come to “Hockey Valley” they will find some of the best facilities college hockey has to offer. Pegula Ice Arena features two ice surfaces: a main rink, home to Penn State’s varsity hockey programs, and a community rink. The facility was made possible by a gift of $102 million – the largest in Penn State’s history – from Terry and Kim Pegula. Thanks to the generosity of the Pegulas, Penn State has achieved its longstanding goal of competing in NCAA Division I hockey. First Night’s ice skating takes place on Pegula Arena’s community rink.
Finished in 2003, Penn State Downtown Theatre Center is an intimate 150-seat theatre, located in what was once the Danks Department Store. The theatre is the home to Penn State Centre Stage, the professional arm of the Penn State School of Theatre. Centre Stage serves as the training program for young theatre professionals embarking in the entertainment industry.
This church building, in the English Norman style, enjoys a prominent site in downtown State College facing Memorial Field. St. Andrew’s, which was consecrated in 1928, is well known for its stained glass windows designed, produced, and installed by the famous Willet Studios (now known as Willet Hauser Architectural Glass) of Philadelphia. Canterbury Hall, where First Night puppets are put on display, is located on the ground floor of the parish life center.
St. Andrew’s holds a Holy Eucharist service at 5:00 pm on December 31.
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church was established in the late 19th century, and its first building was erected at the corner of College Avenue and McAlister Street in 1888. The current building was erected in 1912. At that time it was considered common knowledge that the congregation would never fill the church, let alone pay for the building. The structure was reconstructed completely after the building was gutted in a 1987 fire.
Located at the corner of Allen Street and Beaver Avenue, Schlow Center Region Library opened its doors to the community in October 2005. One of the five public libraries in the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries, a public library system, Schlow Library serves the six municipalities in the State College area.
100 Block, South Allen Street
First Night State College’s giant ice sculptures will be located in the 100 block of South Allen Street between College and Beaver Avenues.
State College Presbyterian Church was organized in 1890 by 58 people who transferred their membership from the Spring Creek Presbyterian Church in nearby Lemont. When the first services were held inside the present building in 1913, the church was charged with ministering to the needs of Presbyterian students on the nearby Penn State campus. Once thought of as “too far out in the country,” this building at the corner of Beaver Avenue and Fraser Street was added to in 1942 and again in 1994. The church’s Social Hall is located under the sanctuary, and Westminster Hall is in the lower level of the church’s Christian education building.
On October 15th, 1938, Warner Brothers opened The State Theatre as a test market for new films. The state-of-the-art cinema was built in record-time — just four months — for $70,000. After a long, slow decline, the movie theatre closed in 1999. The building was subsequently purchased by a community group and remodeled into a new performing arts center. Today the State Theatre hosts movies, community groups, and nationally known touring performers.
Founded as a Baptist church in 1928, the church was joined by a group from the Church of the Brethren in 1968, so today the church is affiliated with both American Baptist Churches, USA, and the Church of the Brethren. The interior of the church has been modernized over the years and today features the work of well-known artists such as Rob Fisher. The Fellowship Room, home of the Universal Soups and Sweets Shoppe, is in the basement of the church.