Five years ago there wasn’t much to see in Millheim.
Going through the highs and lows that many small-town business communities experience, Millheim was in a rut.
But after several new businesses opened, including the Elk Creek Cafe, the town is becoming more alive and trying to bring people in to experience the resurgence.
The first “Meet Millheim” festival this weekend was designed to draw more people into the town and familiarize them with the local shops in hopes that they would return and make the town even more lively.
Festival volunteer and 23-year Millheim resident Sharon Frazier said the borough is getting back to its roots and becoming more of a destination than ever before.
“This is what it used to be,” she said Saturday. “Everybody is happy to see Millheim like this.”
The festival, which ends today, included events like a duck race, a puppet show and puppet making and live music.
The reinvigoration of Millheim began in earnest with the opening of Elk Creek Cafe, and everything built from there, Frazier said.
Tim Bowser, owner of Elk Creek Cafe, said there wasn’t much to the town when he opened up shop, but he is glad to see the town and the surrounding areas starting to embrace local businesses. He added that promotional events like “Meet Millheim” are helping the borough’s image.
“The main thing about today is pulling people out here to see what’s going on,” he said Saturday.
Across the street from Elk Creek sits a business that was started in its wake and helps the draw people to the town. Karl Leitzel, managing partner of the Green Drake Gallery, said he is happy to see the town becoming more lively.
“We are filling Main Street back up by trying to figure out what people want,” he said.
Leitzel said “Meet Millheim” is a great way to draw in nearby residents and show them what the borough has to offer.
“It’s a great way to revitalize the local economy,” he said.
Though admitting there is still room to grow, Frazier said she is as happy as ever to live in Millheim because people no longer have to go to places like State College to have a good time.
“The streets are packed with cars,” she said. “The town is more vibrant.”
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan