The Town Defined by Penn State Football Becomes Quieter

Claire Porter

Saturdays in September are the stars of the week. The stadium is usually packed with people and fans clog College Avenue. As autumn approaches it has been unusually quiet. When Penn State traditionally kicks off its football season it’s almost always a home game on Labor Day weekend this small-town buzzes with life. The Blue Band is usually playing at the stadium, but this year the only place the Blue Band is playing at is the PSU homecoming parade. The sights, sounds, smells generate energy days leading up to each home game. When game day arrives, Beaver Stadium fills with 107,000 fans that is double the town’s resident population. If the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t so active on college campuses, fans would be in the stands. Instead, a new option has taken root in Happy Valley. Tents have been set up on campus not for tailgating but outdoor classes, dining, and coronavirus testing. With no home game to start the season, some Penn State fans threw a football around a vacant parking lot anyway, Some tents with tables have been set up on campus to provide more outdoor activities for the students and professors. So as the sun rose Saturday morning over the valley the air was crisp and the temperature dipped into the 50s. It was football weather! But Penn State isn’t playing football so it becomes very quiet.