Riverwalk Freedom Festival Rapidly Approaching

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nnBy Terry Rogers

The Milford Riverwalk Freedom Festival Committee, part of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milford, is putting the finishing touches on this year’s festival, planned for Friday and Saturday, September 9 and 10. Festival attendees will notice some changes this year in an effort to encourage people to explore the downtown area.

As always, the festival will begin with Operation Giveback, an event that recognizes current military and veterans. Veterans and current military who present documentation of their service are given a free meal courtesy of Mr. Barbecue, Dorey Insurance and Dolce. They must visit the CCGM booth to receive a wristband in order to get the meal. Family members may also receive a wristband that entitles them to a ten percent discount at food vendors at the festival. A relaxation station will be available under the pavilion in Bicentennial Park where veterans and current military members can relax on comfortable chairs, courtesy of Aaron’s.

We are especially excited to bring back the Hometown Heroes that was started last year,” Angela Dorey, Chairman of the festival said. “We are asking for nominations of Milfordians who are considered heroes. It can be a military member, someone who has provided outstanding support to the Milford community or a first responder. Deadline for the submissions is September 2 and they will be recognized at Operation Giveback on September 9.”Nominations should be send to sponsor MilfordLIVE at bryan@milfordlive.com.

In addition to Operation Giveback and Hometown Heroes, the Milford Community Band will play in Bicentennial Park on Friday evening starting at 6:30 PM. At the same time, the Boat Parade along the Mispillion River will begin with prizes awarded for the most patriotic boat. Fireworks are scheduled to begin after dark which is estimated to be between 8 and 8:30 PM.

On Saturday, downtown will be filled with vendors, games and activities for the entire family.  Kid’s Corner will feature new games and vendors designed for children. Ms. Dorey said that festival goers will notice changes this year to the festival layout.

“This year, we have moved the car show to Walnut Street, opening the street up somewhat and allowing more access and visibility to downtown businesses,” Ms. Dorey said. “Vendor booths will be dispersed throughout town, such as along Washington Street, throughout the Riverwalk and in Bicentennial Park. Bayhealth will be offering screenings as part of a Healthy Living Expo located in the park and we are excited about the Petriotic Park located near the library. It will have pet pools, vendors and speakers. The Petriotic Parade begins at the Library Amphitheater at noon.”

At 11 AM, a Firefighters Tug of War will begin on the Walnut Street Bridge. Participants wear full “turn-out gear” with the option of rubber or leather soled boots. There is still time to register for the event by contacting the CCGM office.

One new event added for this year is the Milford Pokemon Hunt, sponsored by TechnoGoober and Delaware Surf Fishing. The event includes a Pokemon Go Fishing Tournament connected to the new Pokemon Go mobile game. The trainers who catch the three heaviest Magikarps that day will win trophies and a Pokeball power bank for their cell phone. There is also a Gym Battle Royale at the gym located in Kid’s Corner. At the top of every hour, the trainer who holds the gym will be entered to win a Pokeball power bank for their cell phone. There is no charge to participate in the Pokemon Hunt.

The Food Court opens at noon on Friday while Saturday’s events begin at 9 AM. There is a petting zoo pony rides and a dunk tank. Around 2pm, the Duck Dash will take place. Ducks, which can be purchased for $5 each, are released into the river behind Arena’s and Fur-Baby Boutique,  Doggie Daycare, Hotel & Spa. Each duck is numbered and the three ducks that cross the finish line first will win prizes for the person who holds that number. First prize is $250, second prize is $100 and third prize is $50. Ducks are still available at locations throughout town or at the CCGM office. They will also be available the day of the festival.

Vendor spaces and sponsorships are still available. For more information, businesses, organizations and individuals can contact the CCGM office at (302) 422-3344 or email Angela Dorey at Angeladorey@comcast.net.

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