Friday night in Millheim was bustling as carolers sung Christmas songs and people mingled in stores selling crafts and warm food.
Santa also opened his appointment book to make time for Millheim’s smallest citizens. The annual event, which continues on Saturday, is popular for those seeking holiday cheer in a classic rural setting.
Josh McCracken, owner of Bremen Town Ballroom & EcoVents on Main Street, reflected on the beginnings of Merry Millheim.
“This is the 6th annual Merry Millheim — six geese a-layin,” McCracken said, pointing to the poster advertising the event outside his catering business.
Participating in Millheim’s very first Merry Millheim was a “big step” for the business that he started with his wife, Erin, because they had just opened their doors..
“It was a good opportunity to meet the community,” he said. “Our place wasn’t what it is today, but it didn’t need to be fully ready because the people here came with good cheer.”
McCracken was excited for this year’s event because they were offering a Texas-style smoked brisket to patrons and allowedcraft vendors to set up in their business.
“It’s about bringing people together, and they can enjoy the food as they enjoy each other’s company,” he said.
This is the second year that the Millheim Theatre is participating in the holiday event, according Cyndy Engle, one of the owners of the theater. Hosting the “Festival of Trees: One Horse Open Sleigh and Wreath Display,”the theater’s theme was inspired by a sleigh owned by Engle’s husband’s family that is on display with several ornate Christmas trees and a large number of wreaths created by charitable organizations throughout the community.
People can purchase tickets to vote on the wreaths with proceeds going toward prizes that benefit the winning charitable organizations. A silent auction of the wreaths will wrap up on Sunday for the remaining items, she said.
“This event is not about money,” Engle said. “It’s really about what these groups tell when it comes to their volunteers. It’s about people.”