MILLHEIM — With the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and the People’s Choices Festival canceling their in-person events again this summer, some community and business leaders are working to bring the art to Millheim this July.
The Millheim Walk Fest of Arts and Music is scheduled for July 9-11. It will bring together 40 artist booths, a half-dozen music stages, food vendors and more throughout the community of Millheim.
“This event brings together multiple aspects of what Millheim is about. 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,” said Millheim Borough Council President Robert Zeigler, who is on the event’s committee.
“Our business community felt we had an opportunity to provide a solution, since we had more open space and would not be congested due to lack of years of being a regular event.”
Millheim is a “natural fit” for the event, said fellow committee member Karl Leitzel, who is also a resident artist and managing partner of the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim. The gallery, and the strong arts scene in Millheim, along with the walkability of the town, will help provide the perfect atmosphere for the festival, said Leitzel.
“We hope, at least, this will bring some people to town that have never been here and show them what a unique small town it is,” said Leitzel.
He said attendees can expect to find the type of artist 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, which is 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.”
Children’s events will take place in the park.
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 2-8 p.m., July 9; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 10; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July
If the event is a hit, 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,” said Zeigler.
Any surplus proceeds from the event, in addition to donations businesses receive, will be evenly split between the East Penns Valley Library, the Millheim Pool and the Millheim Fire Company, providing some financial relief to these organization that were hit hard by the pandemic.
“Due to COVID, these entities suffered from lack of fundraising opportunities and our businesses believe we can help offset some of those losses and support those pillars of our local community. Frankly, we believe that this would help us bring ‘unity’ back into the term ‘community,’ as the arts are something that brings together everyone, regardless of beliefs, ideologies and backgrounds,” said Zeigler.
“We just need to work for a better tomorrow and the Millheim Walk Fest helps us take the steps to accomplish that.”