When Milheim does something, Milheim goes all in. That’s been the case for a while now, and Elk Creek Café + Aleworks is often somewhere in the mix, if not in the lead.
Erin Condo is often in the mix too, so it’s mighty powerful when the two nearly iconic Centre County forces combine, which they are doing Saturday for the Elk Creek’s annual holiday show. Chicken Tractor Deluxe has typically been the holiday band, but due to the sporadic discontinuation of Chicken Tractor Deluxe gigs, the light is now shining on Erin Condo and the Hoofties.
“This weekend before Christmas gig at Elk Creek Cafe is usually reserved for the local band Chicken Tractor,” Condo wrote in an email. “Because it’s a big holiday weekend, it has a slightly different rhythm and feel to it — lots of families and locals who are feeling festive and relaxed.”
The holidays are certainly a main focus of the weekend, but for owner Tim Bowser, there’s another purpose altogether.
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“The Saturday before Christmas is traditionally when we celebrate our Elk Creek birthday,” Bowser wrote in an email. “We focus on giving back to our community with door prizes, birthday cake and beer specials.”
Elk Creek has a phenomenal food menu — the brainchild of revered chef Chef Winston Blick — to go along with everything else happening at the Elk Creek. Local farmers are supported and an artisan and loving intention is infused into everything on the menu.
As for Condo and the Hoofties, the chance to play music, and to do so at Elk Creek, is one of the handful of gigs the band does each year.
“For some people the drive to play and create music is so strong that it consumes and directs their life,” Condo said. “I’m grateful that I’ve been making music my entire life, something that I come back to when I have a moment, something I can rely on when I need to express myself. I’m driven by connecting with folks through storytelling, music-making, and dancing, and I just get so much joy out of playing with my band(s).”
This is the last show of the year for Condo and her bands, but 2019 is already shaping up with a fantastic performance opportunity and possibly some songwriting in the queue.
“We start the year at The State Theatre’s Strawberry Fields benefit, which we love playing,” Condo said. “We’ve got the horn section for that gig, and then ... I’m not sure. It’s been 15 years since I released my first album ‘Leaving Songs,’ so a vinyl re-release might be in order, and I should get back to writing the next record. “
As far as Elk Creek goes, the stellar music will continue, with nine touring acts scheduled to perform from January to April, and with the Elk Creek’s passionate commitment to local music continuing. Notable touring bands making a stop at the Elk Creek this winter and spring include the indefatigable Larry Keel Experience, Mulebone, Driftwood and Town Mountain, to name a few.
“We have a killer lineup coming after the new year,” Bowser said.