One of the most anticipated events in Milford is set to step off on October 19 at 6:30pm. The Milford Community Parade has been a popular downtown event for more than 30 years. This year’s theme is “America the Beautiful.”
According to Charles Gray, whose family has been instrumental in getting the parade organized each year, there will be more than ten marching bands from Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. He said that the committee expects to have more than 80 entrants.
The Milford Community Parade was originally themed as a Halloween parade as it began 70 years ago under Ed Evans, who was Milford’s Mayor during World War II. In recent history the Gray family has facilitated the event for the past 25 years. With the help of community members, family and friends, James Gray set out to make the parade a unique experience for those attending. Under the direction of Milford Community Parades, Inc., the parade began as a fall holiday celebration and has since evolved into a fall seasonal parade with changing themes.
“As normal for Dad’s, their kids look to them for leadership and so the entire family got involved,” Mr. Gray said. “My dad, my sister, Carmen Kemper and I have all been chairpersons of the committee at some point over the past 30 years. Marie Jo Gray has been the treasurer for most of that time. We also have extended family and friends from Dover, Harrington, Milford, Houston, Lincoln and Magnolia who have also served.”
The annual parade brings more than 10,000 visitors to downtown Milford and, in past years, Milford Police Department has reported as many as 30,000 sitting along downtown streets watching as the parade goes by. There are three reviewing stands with a concession vendor and portable restrooms along the parade route, which begins near the old Milford Middle School and ends at Milford Senior High School, travelling along Seabury Avenue and heading north on Walnut Street to 10th Street directly through Milford’s downtown. The reviewing stands can be found at City Hall, Milford Church of God and the new Milford Plant and Garden Center, formerly Gooden’s Florist.
Rules for entrants can be found on the Milford Community Parade website at milfordparade.com. In addition, an online entry form is available on the site, or those who wish to participate can call or fax 422-3038. “One rule we want to stress,” Mr. Gray said. “We began and continue to not allow parade participants to hand out anything from the parade and this includes politicians. The rule is for every entrant in the parade and includes candy, paper, flyers or other objects. If a candidate breaks these rules, we feel it speaks to how well that candidate abides by rules.”
Sponsorships for the parade are still available as well and information can be found on the parade website.