On Sunday, June 14, the city of Milford will be host to a new festival this year as Downtown Milford Inc. prepares for the Brewfest Festival. The inaugural event will offer live bluegrass music, food to purchase and beer tastings from local Delaware and Maryland breweries. Located on the northern and southern banks of the Mispillion River in BiCentennial Park, the festival will highlight Milford’s largest natural resource and the bicycle and pedestrian paths that surround the river known as the Mispillion Greenway Riverwalk.
Organizer of the event Sara Pletcher is a Milford High School graduate and member of Downtown Milford Inc., an organization that actively promotes the revitalization of Milford’s downtown district. Over the last several years she has become active in planning community events including the annual Toasting The Town: St. Patrick’s Pub Crawl. The Pub Crawl event, which features local businesses and restaurants as well as local craft breweries and wineries has been ongoing for five years and has been a sold out event from its inception.
Pletcher came up with the idea for the bluegrass festival after stopping at a visitors center in North Carolina, on her way to Charleston, SC. Looking through a guide of things to do in the state she came across an article about Asheville, NC and the several bluegrass festivals the city hosts annually, including the Brewgrass Festival that highlights Asheville’s growing craft beer industry. Asheville, NC is seen by many as a microcosm of the craft brewing industry’s recent growth across the nation, as the town now boasts big names like California’s Sierra Nevada and Colorado’s New Belgium. With over nine craft breweries within a 40-mile radius of Milford, Pletcher thought it was only natural to highlight that success during the brewgrass festival. With a lot of excitement already surrounding the event, Pletcher hopes that participants will feel the energy in Milford and see what the downtown area offers on a daily basis.
“I hear from people that Milford isn’t exciting, but I think we’ve come a long way since I moved here 15 years ago and events like Brewgrass are prime examples of the town’s capabilities,” commented Plethcer. “I hope people realize it’s not just this one day that’s exciting, but that every Saturday there’s an award-winning Farmers Market, every Christmas there’s a Santa House and Holiday Stroll, there’s movies and plays at the local theater, and restaurants, bars, and stores that offer so much every day. We’re working very hard as a community to breathe so much life into our City and I hope people realize Milford is a great place to live, work, and play..”
Mispillion River Brewing (MRB), Milford’s own craft brewery that opened its doors in November 2013, will be the presenting sponsor for the Brewfest Festival. Located on Mullet Road in Milford’s Business Park off Airport Road, MRB hosts a 15 barrel system that produces a myriad of beers including pale ales, porters, stouts, pilsners and lagers. Eleven other regional breweries have already committed to the festival including 3rd Wave Brewing Co., Argilla Brewing Co. at Pietro’s Pizza, Blue Earl Brewing Company, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Dogfish Head Beer, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, Fordham and Dominion Brewing, Frozen Toes Brewing, Ocean City Brewing Company, Rubber Soul Brewing and Tall Tales Brewery. All breweries will provide tastings and Mispillion River Brewing and Dogfish Head will have full pints for sale. Event-goers can also enjoy beers from budding home brewers and judge for their favorite. Home brewers can enter the home brew competition in any of the three categories including PA, Ale, and/or Wild Card, with four entries per category. More than one entry will be accepted, $5 per entry, and one 6-pack per entry is required. Home brewers must be present at Festival. An additional Festival ticket, $30, must be purchased to partake in included brewery tastings. Home brewer friends and let can find more information and enter the competition at https://tickets.beerfests.com/event/DMIBrewgrassFestival.
Brewfest organizers have already talked with popular bluegrass bands including Chester River Runoff and Chapel Street Junction and an official lineup will be announced shortly. Each event goer will pay an entrance fee of $30, or $100 for VIP access. Each participant will also have the opportunity to secure a designated driver for $5. Food will be available for purchase featuring local restaurants and catering services. Craft vendors will also be a part of the festival as local artisans will offer unique, locally made items.
“Music and beer always go good together,” said Pletcher “Enjoying them in June on the Mispillion River should be a great experience that brings people together to enjoy the arts in our town.” Tickets for all events and more information, including the Brushes and Booze painting at Mispillion Art League, can be found here: https://tickets.beerfests.com/event/DMIBrewgrassFestival