On Friday, December 5 historic downtown Milford celebrated an old-fashioned yuletide season with the 9th Annual Holiday Stroll. A tradition started by Downtown Milford Inc., an organization aimed at promoting and revitalizing downtown Milford, the evening highlighted downtown downtown businesses, restaurants and the local arts community as families walked Walnut street entertained by the live entertainment including the Christmas Carol Band, a barbershop quartet and even Santa Claus himself.
As in years past the downtown area was blocked off to vehicle traffic as families strolled the decorated five-block downtown district with holiday trimmed store windows. New businesses and locations featured for the first time this year included Live Cheap & Make Art Studio, Jarmany’s Closet, Delaware Branding Company, Sugar Bee Candy Store and Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy. Restaurants and pubs including Abbott’s Grill, Arena’s Deli & Bar, Dolce Bakery & Coffee Shop, Georgia House, Longshots Sports Bar & Billiards, Milford Tavern and Park Place Restaurant & Lounge were open while shops including Blooming Boutique, Downtown Barber Shop, Elegant Designs, Good News Natural Foods, Irish Rose, Lou’s Bootery, Milford Gifts, Milford Florists, Milford Skating Center and Riverside Antique Mall featured holiday specials. The Milford art scene was also represented as Gallery 37, Mispillion Art League, The Music School of Delaware and Riverfront Theatre were all be open welcoming families to enjoy live entertainment.
The Vezmar family was among Friday night’s strollers and visited several local art studios and galleries. “I admittedly hadn’t visited the downtown art shops and studios before the stroll,” said David Vezmar. “I was surprised at the range of art and products offered. I’ll be back.”
David said that he enjoys the sense of community at events like the Holiday Stroll. “As a lifetime Milford resident, I can’t walk more than a few steps without running into friends and neighbors,” he said. “We walked up and down Walnut several times, we saw something different each time. We’ll keep coming back to these events because we know that we will be surrounded by good people and we will have a good time.” David said he believes that events like these are very important for Milford to continue. “It gets people out, promotes a good sense of community, and gives the local businesses a chance to show off their products and services. I’m proud of the town Milford is growing up to be.”
The Milford Museum hosted a Special Holiday Exhibit featuring a large collection of antique and modern Santa Claus statues. A Victorian parlor scene included a cozy fireplace scene complete with antique toys and Christmas tree was also on display. At the Milford Public Library Santa’s elves led event goers on an enhanced journey through the pages of Clement C. Moore’s classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas and families were asked to vote for their favorite tree in the Christmas Tree Extravaganza.
The holiday spirit will continue in downtown Milford this year as Santa will be in his house, located on Walnut street across from the Riverfront Theatre, listening to the dreams and wishes of children every Friday evening 6 to 8pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm until December 21. As usual, all children age 12 and under who visit will receive a picture with Santa, a candy cane, a stocking filled with candy and a chance to win one of Downtown Milford Inc.’s weekly drawings of a $50 gift certificate and a dozen cookies from Dolce, all of which is free.
Since Downtown Milford, Inc. is a nonprofit, the organization is dependent upon support from the entire community for both volunteers and funding in order to offer these special experiences. If individuals would like to support DMI’s efforts, they are encouraged to call Downtown Milford Inc. Executive Director Lee Nelson at the DMI office at 839-1180.