Don’t let the name fool you. The Happy Little Fest, hosted by Ball State PBS on Oct. 29, is going to be a BIG deal. 

Ball State PBS—which brought Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting to the world for many years—will be celebrating the 80th birthday of the beloved painter and instructor. And the station is also celebrating its 50th year on the air.

“As the home to Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting show, Ball State PBS is thrilled to commemorate Bob’s iconic work,” said Dr. Phil Hoffman, general manager of Ball State Public Media and assistant dean of Media at Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM). “We’re marking Bob’s birthday with a big bash that’s really a celebration of creativity and joy, an example of the work Ball State PBS does every day to bring light and creativity to the world.” 

Happy Little Fest is scheduled for 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Ball State’s LaFollette Field and will include painting workshops with Certified Ross Instructors®; a Bob Ross look-alike contest, trivia and bingo; Bob Ross merchandise for sale, and a toast to the painter with birthday cupcakes at 1 p.m. in the big tent. 

The main event will be a 300-person painting workshop led by Certified Ross Instructors®—including special guest instructor, actor David Arquette (“Scream”)—under a big tent on LaFollette Field from 1-4 p.m.

“I fell in love with Bob Ross and his painting technique like many people did watching him when I was younger creating incredible works of art right before my eyes,” Mr. Arquette said. “His effortless calm, his masterful skill and general angelic nature drew me to him and his work in a way that made me want to create art like him and inspire others to do the same.”

While on campus, Mr. Arquette will lead two workshops exclusively for Ball State’s media students and acting students. These workshops, part of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series at Ball State University, are being hosted by CCIM and the College of Fine Arts.

Fest attendees will be able to relax to the sound of Bob Ross’ voice in a sensory studio—his actual painting studio—and see 24 of his original paintings at the nearby Ball State PBS / WIPB Studios in the E.F. Ball Communication Building. 

There will also be free Bob Ross for Kids painting sessions led by Certified Ross Instructor®, Chris Taylor. 

Panel discussions will take place at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the large studio at Ball State PBS / WIPB Studios in the E.F. Ball Communication Building. Panelists will include former WIPB General Manager Jim Needham, who worked with Bob Ross; Jessica Jenkins, historian at The Bob Ross Experience; Rob Scalzo, podcaster; Nic Hankins, vice president and creative director of Bob Ross, Inc.; and Joan Kowalski, president of Bob Ross, Inc. 

Bob Ross said of WIPB while he was filming the show here: “They’re a super group of people. There’s as much talent there as you find at some of the big stations.” 

For tickets and additional information, visit 

Happy Little Fest is being presented by Ball State PBS and Bob Ross, Inc. National Streaming Sponsor is Janson Media. 

Ball State’s on-campus partners for the festival are the University’s College of Communication, Information, and Media; College of Fine Arts; Digital Corps; and the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning. 

Local support is being provided by Dillman’s Furniture; Chris Taylor, artist; Wilhoite Family Dental; LifeStream Services; Parker Electrical Service; Muncie Visitors Bureau; Courtyard by Marriott at Horizon Convention Center; Windmill Marketing; and Donahue Gas.