The inaugural Brewgrass Festival in Downtown Milford, hosted by Downtown Milford Inc., was a huge success as it raised over $14,000 for the organization. According to organizer Sara Pletcher, it was the largest single event fundraiser for DMI to date. Known for her past success as organizer of the annual Toasting The Town: St. Patrick’s Pub Crawl, an event which features local businesses and restaurants as well as local craft breweries and wineries, Pletcher did not disappoint as over 500 attendees enjoyed live music and local brews.
Located on the northern and southern banks of the Mispillion River in BiCentennial and Memorial Park, the event offered live bluegrass music, food and beer tastings from local Delaware and Maryland breweries. Highlighting Milford’s largest natural resource, the Mispillion River, and the bicycle and pedestrian paths that surround the river known as the Mispillion Greenway Riverwalk, residents and visitors to Milford experienced the blend of nature and entrepreneurial spirit that downtown Milford offers.
“Seeing all the people in the Parks was just amazing,” said Pletcher. “People brought their chairs and really enjoyed the atmosphere. I don’t think people truly enjoy the River and Parks around town that often, so I’m thrilled we could provide them the opportunity to do just that.”
Milford’s own Mispillion River Brewery was the presenting sponsor as they featured three different brews including their Reach Around IPA, Holy Crap Imperial Red Ale and Chupacabra American Pale Ale. Mispillion River Brewery opened its doors in the Milford business park off of Airport Road in Milford, DE in 2013. Partners Don and Marti Brooks, Scott and Tammy Perlot and Eric and Megan Williams now run the 15 barrel system with the help of their Brewmaster Ryan Maloney. The local company was excited about the opportunity to lead the craft beer element of the event as twelve local breweries from around Delaware and Maryland were features.
Chapel Street Junction, a five piece band based in Newark, DE, was among one of many bluegrass-style bands that played during Sunday’s event on one of two performance stages. Performing Bluegrass, Irish and Americana music, Chapel Street Junction has been playing music for 10 years at over 100 shows in DE, PA, MD, and NY.
“When we performed at the fest, the energy from the audience was incredible,” said guitarist Scott Perlot. “Dancing, singing, craft beer and tasty food on a warm Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t get much better. Everyone in Chapel Street Junction would love to perform at the Milford Brewgrass Fest in 2016 next year.”
The event is planned again for 2016 and Pletcher is encouraging attendees to take the survey that was sent to festival goers last week. She states that the feedback will help to shape next year’s event and help other future events evolve. “The response has been pretty positive,” said Pletcher. “As with any event, there are things we’ll change and correct, it’s how events evolve, but the smiles were contagious on Sunday and people enjoyed the Festival.”
Pletcher hopes that unique events such as Brewgrass Festival will help attract visitors and residents of Milford to experience what downtown has to offer. “Since this event was on a Sunday and most of our downtown businesses are closed on Sunday, I hope this type of event showcased the town’s capabilities. People who came from out of town, outside Milford, Lincoln, and Houston, which was about 57% of ticket holders, will hopefully visit again and see what else Milford has to offer,” said Pletcher. “For Milfordians, I think they were excited to see this type of event happen in our town. People were proud of their town on Sunday and I think we need to carry that momentum in everything we do to better the community we live in. Sunday was a good day! Not just for me, my committee, or DMI, but for the City.”