Millheim WalkFest of Arts & Music organizers include (clockwise from upper left) Karl Leitzel, Rebecca Larsen, Dennis Whittinghill, Robert Zeigler, and Beth Cowher. (Photo by Darren Andrew Weimert)
The inaugural Millheim WalkFest of Arts & Music — taking place Friday through Sunday — will bring 40 arts and craft vendors, six music stages and food trucks to a Penns Valley borough that is already known for its arts, music and food scene.
The event came about after the cancelation of in-person activities for the second year in a row at The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg.
Community leaders realized there was an opportunity to showcase the town while providing something for the community.
“This event brings together multiple aspects of what Millheim is about,” said Millheim Borough Council President Robert Zeigler, who is on the event’s committee.
“We do our best to fulfill the needs of not just our community, but also the region. With Arts Fest and People’s Choice being canceled, we saw a glaring need that had to be addressed.”
Fellow committee member and local business owner Rebecca Larsen said there will be something for the whole family to do at the event, including children’s activities at the park.
Activities at the event, Larsen said, will highlight Millheim’s history and charm and showcase it for those who come to visit.
“We did it to complement the town,” she said. “It is a funky, creative, outdoorsy, foodie kind of town. We kind of have taken a unique approach.
“It is a small town, and to have this energy come through and people to come visit and come back a month from now to go to the winery or the new ice cream shop, I think will really help put Millheim on the map for some people who don’t know about it. Then remind people that it is a cool, funky, little town.”
Organizers hope to continue the festival in the years to come, but they don’t plan to hold it on Arts Fest weekend in the future.
“This is something we can build up in the next few years and move it to not compete directly with Arts Fest or People’s Choice,” Zeigler said.
Fellow event organizer Karl Leitzel, who is also a resident artist and managing partner of the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim, said the walkability of the small town will provide the perfect setting for the event.
Attendees can expect to find artists of the “caliber” typically found at People’s Choice and Arts Fest, along with a few unique artists.
Main music stages will be located on the Millheim Fire Company grounds and at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park, also home of The Millheim Pool, which will be open during the event.
Smaller music stages will be set up at other locations in town and Leitzal said, “there should be music nonstop.” Nearly 30 acts are scheduled to play throughout the weekend
“Millheim is a walkable town with a lot of wonderful gems. We also have the space and capability to spread out events and not have things be overly crowded,” Zeigler said.
“We’re known for having artists and musicians in the area and many business and community leaders think it’s time we highlight it more often.”
Since parking is limited in town, a shuttle will be provided to transport people from parking locations on the edge of the community.
Hours for the event are 2 to 8 p.m. on July 9; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 10; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 11.
The event will also be working to help support the community as many businesses will be accepting donations for East Penns Valley Library, Millheim Pool and Millheim Fire Company
For artist and band lineups, and a festival map, visit millheimwalkfest.com