Friday, February 23, 2024

A night out in Millheim

MILLHEIM — When you drive through many of the small towns in rural Pennsylvania after sundown, you would not be blamed if the phrase “roll up the sidewalks” came to mind.

Not so if that small town is Millheim, located in the heart of Penns Valley. An art gallery and three restaurants enliven these streets. One of the restaurants also includes a music venue. On the corner of Main Street and West North Street, just by the stoplight, stands the Elk Creek Cafe and Ale Works. This craft brewery and restaurant, while known for its beer and food, is also a venue for local live music.

It is a place where the local groups can show the world what they can do. For example, every third Thursday the Poe Valley Troubadours hold forth their style of bluegrass/pop/Americana music.

On Feb. 25, a young group that goes by the name Wicket Chicken played. The group had two young Millheim residents and a friend. All of the members were multi-instrumentalist. They took turns playing the banjo, drums, guitar and violin.

The Elk Creek Cafe was started 15-plus years ago by Tim Bowser. His idea was to create a space that could be a gathering place for people to come together to enjoy each other’s company and the food, beer and music. The Poe Valley Troubadours have played almost every third Thursday of the month since the second year the cafe opened. Over the years, the venue’s reputation has grown, and groups and individuals from surrounding states have played there. For example, Joe Crookston from Ithaca, New York, will be entertaining diners on March 5.

Amy Seaton, the manager, indicated that the cafe hosts over 120 musical groups each year. She also related some history on how the cafe made it through the COVID-19 pandemic. The cafe rented the fire company’s parking area and held music events in the open air. The staff also used the fire company’s French fry trailer, which is used by the fire company during its carnival, to produce food for the people who attended the concerts. The management is planning to produce live outdoor concerts this year as well even though the cafe is now open for business.

Information on upcoming musical groups can be found at