Mayfly Festival is this weekend


For The Express

MILLHEIM – The Millheim Business Community announces the second annual Mayfly Festival this weekend here and in other Penns Valley spots.

The event this Friday and Saturday promises to be a family-friendly two days of great food, music, art work and shopping, with items provided by local vendors.

Millheim, which has become a central Pennsylvania hub for art and entertainment, will kick off summer through this unique display of community meets funky meets downhome fun.

The organizers of the 2014 Mayfly Festival promise that this second year of the celebration will bring with it even more festivities than the first.

With free children’s activities spread across Millheim and Penns Valley, live street music, and back-to-basic workshops and demonstrations on such things as archery, fishing and chainsaw carving, the festival has something for everyone.

Millheim is the homestead of many new and dedicated older businesses that will participate in the festival. Penns Valley Jewelers and Cottage Rose Antiques, Millheim Small Engine Shop, Hosterman and Stover’s Hardware and Variety Store, Good Scents candle shop, Lizzie Belle’s vintage clothing, “Angtiques,” Morning Glory Massage Therapy, and the Millheim Hotel are just a few of the businesses that are getting in on the act.

In Rebersburg, Main Street Yarn and Forefathers Books are included in the list.

Many of these storekeepers are offering special sales during the weekend.


Although most of the activities in “The Heim” will start Friday, one special event starts today. The Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center, 101B-W. Main St., invites regional artists to come and be a part of the second Plein Air Paint-Out Contest. Those interested will start out by registering at the gallery – anytime from 9 a.m. today through Saturday – for a fee of $25. Then they will head out into the fields, wilds or streams of Penns Valley and paint whatever strikes their fancy.

Those who do not paint may observe by viewing a master map at the Green Drake, and seeking out the artists where they are working.

Paintings must be returned to the gallery by 3 p.m. Saturday for judging. The contest is open to 25 entrants only. For more information or to reserve a spot, call the Green Drake at 814-349-2486.


On Friday, The UpTexas Chapel Choir will offer a taste of what it does best with a mini musical concert on the front steps of the historic Niemen’s Department Store from 6 to 6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., the Green Drake Gallery will host aN old-time music concert by the Gnarled Knuckles string band, while at the same time the IngleBean Coffee House, at 106 E. Main St., will welcome Acoustic Rumble with Chris Rattie and Ryan Alford on its beautiful brick-walked back patio. The Bremen Town Ballroom will host Mike Swavely and the Chrome Magnatones from 8 to 10 p.m. with melodies from the ’50s and ’60s as they perform songs by artists like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Hank Williams.


Saturday’s events in Millheim start before the rooster crows at 5 a.m. with a bird walk beginning at Fountain Park on East Main Street, as Andrea Ferich, executive director of the Penns Valley Conservation Association, takes visitors for a walk in the hopes of finding some early-morning feathered friends flocking around town.

The Millheim Farmers Market at the American Legion at the west end of town will be in full swing during its normal Saturday hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market will be stocked with a selection of locally grown, seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers, maple syrup and honey.


The Muddy Paws Marsh in Penn Hall, near Spring Mills, has once again organized Frog Fest, for the second year in a row, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 12:30 p.m.

Herpetologists Dr. Jim Julian and Carla Hess will be on site to share the experience of working with frogs and tadpoles. The marsh will be dotted with education stations to highlight the importance of solar energy and showcase animals from wetlands habitats, from Shavers Creek and Centre Wildlife Care. Children will be thrilled as guides use hands-on artwork as a way of teaching about the environment.

This is a fun program to teach kids and adults the importance of preserving the habitat of a watershed.

The Centre County Extension Master Gardeners, along with the Penns Valley Conservation Association, sponsor this free event that is held rain or shine. For more information on Frog Fest, call 814-422-8787.


The Millheim Small Engine shop, on Route 45 near Millheim, will hold a chainsaw carving demo between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

There will be fishing demos and a casting contest at Hostermen & Stovers between 10 a.m. and noon, as well as Pinedell Farm Animals for all ages to enjoy from 10 to 11 a.m.

The Learning Garden at the Millheim Farmers Market will host an Herb Walk at 10 a.m. and an archery demonstration beginning at 11 a.m.

Also starting at 11 a.m. on Main Street, Millheim, Morning Glory Massage will offer free chair massages and complimentary $5 coupons.

Freeze Thaw Cycles will be heading a 15-mile bike ride which launches from Fountain Park on East Main Street, likewise at 11 a.m.

For those who find themselves hungry while they visit the numerous activities and events, the food court in front of the Bremen Town Ball Room will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature eats from Sweet Creek Bakers, the Hummingbird Room, and Ecovents.

Martha Hoffman, one of the chief organizers of the Mayfly Festival, gave a brief description of what the food vendors will have for sale: “Sweet Creek Bakers, run by Barb Lange and Judith Fordham, are bringing pies. The Hummingbird Room with food by Claudia and Eric Sarnow, are bringing Cornish pasties. The East Penns Valley Library is bringing hot dogs. Ecovents will be serving tacos and Wendy Vonada will be bringing her homemade cookies – and, of course, all of the delightful foods that OIP, the Millheim Hotel, the Elk Creek Cafe, and the IngleBean always have!”


One of the most unique aspects of the Mayfly Festival is the street music that will be found at numerous locations along the high street. Saturday’s street performance schedule includes Gene Gibson at the Green Drake at 11 a.m., Kai Schafft at 11:45, Centrallica at 1:15 p.m., The Strayers at 2 p.m. and CTR at 3 p.m.

Erin Condo and the Hoofties will be the featured act of the evening at Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks, West Main Street, at 8 p.m.


Fun and enriching children’s activities will be focused mainly at the gazebo at Fountain Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The list of fun and games will include craft-making, story time, children’s music and sing-alongs, and more. Locations and times for all of these events will be posted around town.

All children are invited to assist in creating a new mural for downtown Millheim, guided by the hands of acclaimed artist Elody Gyekis and her father and musician Gary Gyekis.

According to Erin McCracken, “It’s a participatory beautification effort for Henry’s (Beiler) building at the main intersection in Millheim. Henry’s store, Millheim Small Engine, has donated the materials to create the mural including canvases and paint. Elody and Gary created a basic background mural that will cover the plywood on the front of the building.

“During the festival, children will be painting decorations that will be attached to the mural Saturday afternoon,” she said. “Throughout the festival the mural will serve as the backdrop to many of the bands that are playing.”


This year’s Mayfly Festival and its vast number of events will benefit Penns Valley’s new low-powered FM community radio station WSOV (Sounds of the Valley) which is based in Millheim. WSOV will be broadcasting live interviews with older members of the community about the Millheim of yesteryear. The broadcast will be at a temporary studio in the window of the Penns Valley Veterinary Clinic on East Main Street.

WSOV is raffling off two unique musical instruments at the festival.

Gary Long of Valley Luthiery has donated a hand-made tube amp that he built in a five-gallon lacquer can, valued at more than $500. The amplifier will be demonstrated Saturday at 2:45 p.m.

The other prize on the raffle ticket was built by 10-year-old Gus Tritsch, of Mountain Minstrelsy fame. It is a hand-made cigar-box guitar with a minimum value of $200. Equipped with an electric bass pick-up, this four-string guitar is candy apple red and guarantees great sound and lots of fun.




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