As many of Centre County’s most beloved summer events are canceled due to COVID-19 precautions, other events are rising up to provide fun — yet still safe — ways for communities to gather. The first-ever Millheim Food & Fun Walk is one such event, taking place from 12:30-3 p.m. Saturday in downtown Millheim.

“Originally, the Millheim Fire Company carnival was set for the same day,” said one of the event organizers, Rebecca Larsen. “That’s something the Penns Valley area really, really looks forward to. The kids always look forward to that carnival. It’s a great one and gets a good turnout and supports the fire hall.”

The Millheim Food & Fun Walk, Larsen said, will offer locals a similar style of event, with family-friendly food and fun, but structured differently to address social distancing concerns. The event will similarly mirror one of the benefits of previous years’ Community Bite dinners, at which the nonprofit, founded by Larsen, provides 200 to 250 free meals to the community in a social setting.

The Millheim Food & Fun Walk begins at the Millheim Fire Company, where attendees will receive a free to-go dinner and map to guide them through the walking event. Children will receive a free, donated toy. Approximately 20 different local businesses and organizations are involved, including Larsen’s Gather & Co. Catering company, Inglebean Coffeehouse and Coburn Giving Tree.

“At the fire hall, we’re doing a barbecue meal with barbecued local chicken and turkey and cornbread, and a coleslaw with local salad greens, that have all been donated. … Elk Creek Cafe is handing out these smashed french fries they do. The Millheim Hotel is handing out chocolate mousse. The pizza shop is handing out garlic knots and slices of pizza,” Larsen said.

Each stop on the walk will offer something different, whether it’s food or fun, and everything is free. Additional food will be available for purchase, and local musicians will be set up at different stops along the walk, playing acoustic sets.

To keep the event as safe as possible, organizers have connected with all participating small business owners and discussed controlling the flow of traffic along the walk. Event maps ask attendees to be respectful of others and mind their distance. Those cooking the free meals distributed at the fire hall will follow the same precautions that professional kitchens follow on a daily basis, Larsen said, with only three people in the kitchen at one time. Directional arrows around downtown Millheim further help direct attendees.

“The idea is to just have this feeling of community in a fun and safe environment. It’s bringing people together, outside, in a way that kids can have some fun. They can get some toys they can use for the summer, get their minds away from the virtual classes and get them outside …” Larsen said. “It’s definitely a community event that can help provide people with not just one meal of nourishment, but a feel-good vibe all around and a focus on the kids.”

The free event is fueled by the donations from local businesses and farms, with contributing farms including Pole Cat Hollow Farm in Howard, Strong Roots Organic Farm in Woodward, Over the Moon Farm in Rebersburg and Spring Bank Acres Farm in Rebersburg. Organizers are still accepting donations for toys — those interested in donating should email Larsen at

Already, Larsen and other organizers are looking at the potential of having another similar event in the fall.

“The best thing we can do, regardless of whether we’re in good times or bad times, is to be together as a community, and now not necessarily how we have been in the past,” she said. “For me, my outlook on things is (on) trying to find positive ways to adjust and I think that’s what we’re doing right now — trying to find positive, safe ways to still be together as a community, a little differently than how we used to be, but still keep it focused on being happy and healthy and having some fun.”


WJAC Channel 6

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WJAC) — In Centre County, Millheim will host an arts festival in July.

The Millheim Walkfest of Arts and Music is scheduled for July 9, 10 and 11.

Over 40 arts vendors will be spread-out throughout the town along with food vendors and live music.

Organizers say many people were frustrated that arts festivals were canceled last year, so they decided to have something for residents.

“We want to emphasize that Millheim is a great walking town,” said organizer Karl Leitzel. “It’s two blocks of downtown. Then it’s got the fire company right in the back of that. Then across the little foot bridge, it’s got the pool and park. And all of those areas are part of the festival. So, it’s going to be a walk around festivalall within an easy distance.”

The arts festival is being held the same weekend as the firemen’s carnival in Rebersburg, which is just five-and-a-half miles away from Millheim.


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.”