By Terry Rogers
On Wednesday, October 15, the Milford Community Parade travelled the familiar path down Walnut Street despite occasional downpours and windy conditions. Grand Marshall Mayor Bryan Shupe and his fiancée, Sherry Shaffer, led the parade which has been a Milford tradition since 1939.
“We had 112 entries for the parade this year and 62 of them appeared,” said Charles Gray, Chairman of the parade committee. “The rain is disappointing, but we understand that school administrators must make a decision based upon their students’ needs. The Woodland String Band was also supposed to appear, but, unfortunately, their costumes are not water friendly.”
According to Mr. Gray, the parade is the largest two-hour event in the city and requires space to accommodate spectators. Mr. Gray said that the parade committee must coordinate with the Milford Police Department and Delaware Department of Transportation for traffic and crowd control, road closures and train schedules. In addition, reviewing stands must be set up. Neighboring police departments adjust their schedules to provide additional assistance to Milford’s department as well. These issues make it difficult to reschedule the parade to a later date if it rains.
“We had to improvise a little and we decided not to use the generator,” the Clendaniel family explained as they worked to put the finishing touches on their float. “We won’t have lights like we wanted and our decorations may be a little less elaborate, but a little rain was not keeping us away.” The family said that they had entered a float in the parade every year since 1970 as a way to get family together.
Debbie Cain agreed with the sentiments of the Clendaniel family. Ms. Cain said she worked hard to create her tissue paper rabbit coming out of a top hat as part of the “Hocus Pocus” theme for this year’s parade. She said that the rain was not going to stop them from traveling down Walnut Street to show off their handiwork.
“We have worked really hard on this,” Ms. Cain said. “We decided we would start out with a tissue paper rabbit when the parade starts and he may be bare chicken wire when we get to the end, but he will look good for part of the parade.”
People began lining up to watch the parade as early as 5pm on Wednesday. “We have been every year,” said Wendy who was setting up chairs along with Jordan, Marissa, Alexis, Joslyn, Justin and Miss Pat on the corner by City Hall. “We have umbrellas and towels so if it rains, we’re all set.”
Mr. Gray said that they are clear to participants that the event will be held rain or shine, and although they prefer a clear, moonlit night, the weather does not always cooperate. There was a slight delay this year due to forecasted thunderstorms.
“So much effort goes into this annual tradition,” Mr. Gray said. “From the fans, the participants, the volunteers and the families that have spanned generations. Whether it is a favorite viewing spot, a neighbor’s porch or downtown among the street lights, we always hear of the fond memories that the parade invokes. We constantly hear that it is the best parade they have ever seen.”
Mr. Gray said that he understood that many entrants struggled over whether to participate considering the weather forecast, but all of those who chose to brave the elements said that it was uplifting to see all the fans lining the streets, cheering at them and thanking them for participating.
“We want to thank all the residents of Milford for putting their busy lives on hold one evening annually so we can bring a family-friendly night of fun,” Mr. Gray said. “The committee consists of citizens from Milford, Lincoln, Harrington, Houston and Dover who spend countless hours meeting, fundraising and organize the parade year after year. A special thank you goes to the Milford High School Cheerleaders who had to wait the longest as they were the last entry. They made sure the parade ended on a very high-spirited note. Our hats are off to them and their coaches.”
Next year’s parade will be held on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 with a theme of “Back 2 the Future.” The theme was chosen as the date of the parade is the exact date shown on the time clock in the movie. “We hope to see spoofs of the movies, outer space and fantasy themes next year,” Mr. Gray said.
BUSINESS FLOATS- ANTIQUE VEHICLE-
1ST PLACE – MEDING AND SON
2ND PLACE – WITHCES OF WESTSIDE
3RD PLACE – MILFORD SKATING CENTER
THEMED VEHICLE MARCHING UNIT –
1ST PLACE – SOUTHERN DE JEEP CLUB
2ND PLACE – BLUE HEN TRADITIONS
3RD PLACE – DELMARVA HISTORIC HAUNTS
CIVIC FLOAT UNDER 18 –
1ST PLACE – GIRL SCOUT TROOP 272
2ND PLACE – GIRL SCOUT TROOP 918
3RD PLACE – CUB SCOUT PACK 186
4TH PLACE – CUB SCOUT PACK 116
1ST PLACE – THE CLENDANIEL FAMILY tHANK YOU TO THE MEMBERS
2ND PLACE – FIRST STATE BMX OF THE CITIZENS HOSE FIRE
3RD PLACE – MILFORD SENIOR CENTER COMPANY BAND FOR BRAVING
ANTIQUE VEHICLE –
1ST PLACE -’65 CORVETTE-R. WEBB
2ND PLACE – ’65 CORVETTE-D. TATMAN
MARCHING UNIT –
1ST PLACE – MILFORD HIGH CHEERLEADERS
SCHOOL/DAYCARE FLOAT –
1ST PLACE – KIDS FIRST
2ND PLACE – NURSES AND KIDS
CIVIC FLOAT OVER 18 –
1 ST PLACE – TEMPLE LODGE
2ND PLACE – HAUNTED BARN AND TRAIL
3RD PLACE – FIRST STATE COON HUNTERS