PINE GROVE MILLS — The late July forecast just got a little hotter — and it’ll run right through early August.
Not the weather mind you, but a new, locally-focused weeklong celebratory event set to run from July 31 through August 8 and dubbed “Route 45 Getaways!”
Pine Grove Mills and Millheim are the anchor points for the nearly 25-mile stretch of road that connects the two towns, according to a news release from event sponsor Liz Grove and the Pine Grove Hall. Between the two points, organizers estimate there are nearly 50 businesses and organizations.
“This is a really exciting multi-party effort,” said Grove, owner of Pine Grove Hall. “We have a vision for an arts-focused celebration that will also strengthen relationships between local villages, businesses and community organizations.”
According to Grove, participating businesses will receive additional exposure via a dedicated website as well as heavy social media marketing dedicated to getting the word out about the weeklong event.
In return, those businesses will be asked to host either an art or a music event sometime during the July 31 through Aug. 8 time period and provide gift cards or prizes to be used as giveaways.
“My hope for this event is to show that Millheim is willing to partner and work with other municipalities and groups for the sake of building community,” said Robert Zeigler, Millheim Borough Council president. “The arts unify people and bring them together regardless of background, beliefs and ideology. After a year or so of putting ourselves in isolation, such isolation highlighted to me the need to have more events and opportunities to celebrate what many take for granted.
“There is so much happening between these two points on the map — wineries, farm tours, bed and breakfasts and farmers markets,” said Grove. “And we want to celebrate that by creating a kind of auto tour that showcases these businesses and brings people to them.”
Designed for both tourists and residents, funding for “Route 45 Getaways!” comes from a grant made possible by The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau and the Centre County Board of Commissioners. Ferguson Township also contributed funding. It’s not typically easy to develop a program that appeals to both tourists and locals, according to David Pribulka, Ferguson Township manager.
“The biggest challenge is creating an experience that will emphasize both novelty and tradition,” saidd Pribulka. “Residents who have lived their entire lives in this community should be able to discover something they never knew about; and people and families visiting for the first time should home with a love and appreciation for the culture that has shaped our values for generations.”
Partners in the event are Ferguson Township, Millheim Borough and the Pine Grove Mills Small Area Plan Advisory Committee. The Centre County Farmland Trust is a key sponsor. Event sponsors include 814 Cider Works, Pine Grove Hall, Elk Creek Café and Pisano Winery. The Route 45 Getaways! steering committee is assigning liaisons to help businesses located in and around Route 45 get involved. Organizations, artists and musicians may also contact the committee via the Route 45 Getaways website contact form to participate in the event.
“We have a short window to get the first year off the ground, but we feel we can test the waters and set the stage for what we hope to be an annual event with lots of community involvement,” said Grove.
For more information, visit www.route45getaways.com.