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Celebrate the Arts at Artsfest

Published: May 20, 2024
Artsfest Shopper

The City of Harrisburg's biggest celebration of the arts is happening May 25-27 along the banks of the beautiful Susquehanna River in Riverfront Park. Get all the event details in the event guide and continue reading for a few highlights to expect.

The 56th Annual Artsfest will host talented artists and craftsmen from across the country to sell their one-of-a-kind handmade items. There will be pottery, paintings, apparel, jewelry, wood and glass items, photography, mixed media works, and more. Come ready to shop because there will be something for everyone!

Each year we look forward to welcoming back many familiar faces to continue to grow their customer base. We equally enjoy welcoming several new artisans to the event to showcase their works. See below for a sneak peek at the works of a few newcomers that we can't wait to see in person.Artsfest blog 4 Artsfest blog 1 Artsfest blog 2 Artsfest blog 3


One of our favorite activities at the event is the Community Art Project where attendees can creative by creating something that will be part of a larger, permanent art display. This year attendees will help us bring a colorful school of fish to City Island! During the event, attendees ages 10 and older will be given a fish sculpture to paint with a bright, colorful design of their choice. The fish will be collected and later installed on City Island beside the Harbortown Playground to create an eye-catching display of 450 fish. The fish sculpture was modeled to resemble the Rock Bass, a fish species native to the Susquehanna River and other waterways throughout the State. 150 fish sculptures will be disbursed each day while supplies last, so we recommend arriving early if you want to participate.

This project was inspired by the “One Fish, Two Fish” art installation in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. A photo of this project and the fish sculpture attendees will paint during the event are below. 

artsfest blog artsfest blog


New this year, attendees will be able to watch local artists do live plein air paintings along the festival route. Look for Vivi Sterste on Saturday at State & Front Street to see her paint the State Capitol building and its surroundings. Also look for Rachel Mercik on Saturday & Sunday in Riverfront Park at South & Front Street and Jon Weary on Saturday & Sunday somewhere along the festival path.

Artsfest blog 5 Artsfest blog 7 Artsfest blog 6


Once you're done exploring the festival, get a bite to eat from one of the 25 food trucks that will be on site. They will offer festival favorites like funnel cakes, sausages, fresh cut fries, and milkshakes, along with some more unique bites like dumplings, riceballs, Indian cuisine, churros, and more. Many gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options will be available.

Artsfest blog

Once you have your food, grab a seat in the shade by one of our 2 outdoor entertainment stages or head to the Art Association’s air-conditioned building to enjoy vocal and instrumental performances coordinated by the Wednesday Club. The UPMC State Street Stage will host 19 bands, dance groups, and more and the Jazzfest Stage will feature 13 groups. Every corner of the festival route will be filled with tunes to delight all musical preferences.


Participating City restaurants will also offer colorful cocktails and food options in celebration of the event. Try a Starry Night cocktail from JB Lovedrafts, an Elderberry Elixer or colorful plant-based nachos from Ward of Health, an Avatar latte from Elementary Coffee Co, and more.


Be sure to bring the kids along to enjoy many free art-centric activities in the Kidsfest area sponsored by Renewal By Andersen. There will be free face painting, balloon animals, and a Harrisburg Fringe Station offering bubble painting, paper flowers, puppets, and a DIY area. Coexist Artist Jeff Semmerling will host a bird mask making station, Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art will have a bird brand bracelet craft, Menchey Music will have an “instrument petting zoo”, Painting By Joy will host canvas painting classes, and so much more. Get the full schedule of activities online.

Artsfest blog artsfest blog


Pick up our ExploreHBG Tote bag and NEW Sticker at the Info Tent located by the Market St Bridge at Artsfest. Take a photo showing off your tote and where you stuck the sticker and share with us on social media.https://www.instagram.com/explorehbg/ 

ExploreHBG Tote ExploreHBG Sticker


The City offers a vibrant arts scene including art galleries, live theatre, murals, music venues, and more. Stay in the City throughout the weekend to explore everything it has to offer! Below are just a few places to consider visiting while you’re here:

  • Murals – The City has over 40 colorful murals on buildings throughout the City. We recommend following the Murals & More Trail offered by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg for two walkable loop options located just 2 blocks from the festival that showcase over 20 murals and other artwork. For the complete list of murals throughout the City, visit https://sprocketmuralworks.org/tour/.  
  • Art Association of Harrisburg – Located right off the festival route at 21 Front Street, the Art Association of Harrisburg will hold open gallery hours for two exhibitions from 10am-4pm on May 25, 12-5pm on May 26, and 10am-4pm on May 27. They will also host vocalist and instrumental musicians of all ages in partnership with the Wednesday Club throughout the weekend.
  • Open Stage – watch a live production of What the Constitution Means to Me at Open Stage located less than 2 blocks away from the festival route at 25 Court Street, Harrisburg. They will offer evening shows on May 24, 25, 26, and additional days through June1. Get tickets at openstagehbg.com
Author: Cortney Ranck-Cameron

Marketing and Events Manager for the City of Harrisburg