Penns Valley

Millheim Oktoberfest delivers food, fun, support for fire company

Members of the Pleasant Valley Dancers entertain the crowd with traditional German dances during the Millheim Oktoberfest to benefit the Millheim Fire Company on Saturday.
Members of the Pleasant Valley Dancers entertain the crowd with traditional German dances during the Millheim Oktoberfest to benefit the Millheim Fire Company on Saturday. CDT photo

The Pleasant Valley Dancers, of Freeburg, proved Saturday they could cut a rug.

The group specializes in German and old world dances, and travels from festival to festival showing off their talent.

Sal D’Angelo and Michelle Delgado were just two of the four dance couples who performed various polka dances at the second annual Oktoberfest, sponsored by Elk Creek Café and the Millheim Business Community, to benefit the Millheim Fire Company.

They strapped on their lederhosen and dirndl, and linked arms for most of the performance.

The two met in a dance class last year at Susquehanna University taught by Natasha Holt, who oversees the troupe.

It took them about five weeks to learn the routines for Saturday’s fest, D’Angelo said.

“It’s just something fun that I kind of fell into by chance,” D’Angelo said. “I only ever did ballroom.”

While they danced, live German-style bands serenaded the crowd, and the smell of schnitzel, sauerkraut and bratwurst lingered in the air.

The traditional German food is a staple at the fest, but came with something new this year.

Elk Creek Café proprietor Tim Bowser said his restaurant teamed up with culinary students from Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science & Technology, and Penn College.

On Thursday, Elk Creek chef Zack Derck and about a dozen students prepared traditional German meals with a twist.

To put his own spin on things, Derck added lemon pepper mayo to the schnitzel sandwich, and added apples to the sauerkraut.

“It’s German food with my own twist,” Derck said.

Bowser also added that he purchased traditional Oktoberfest benches known as “biergarten tables”, and added pretzel girls to walk around and offer guests a pretzel on a stick — an Oktoberfest ritual.

“We’re tweaking it each year and trying to make it as traditional as possible,” Bowser said.

Last year, Bowser met a couple from Germany who attended the Millheim Oktoberfest and had nothing but positive things to say.

“They made their way here from the Oktoberfest in Mifflinburg,” Bowser said. “I’m not sure how they heard of ours, but they told us we did it right. ... It’s about good food, good people, good beer and a good atmosphere.”

Last year, about 600 people attended the event. This year, Bowser hoped for double the crowd, with a goal to raise about $6,000 — double what the company netted last year.

“We really want our fire department to know how much Penns Valley appreciates their services to our community,” Bowser said. “They give so much to us so this is our way to give back.”

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