Community Parade Shoots for the Stars

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Milford Community Parades, Inc., organizers of Milford’s annual fall parade , have announced that this year’s theme will be To The Stars And Beyond. An event that has been a Milford tradition since 1939, the Milford Community Parade marches through Walnut Street of Milford, encompassing 1.7 miles stretching from South to North, through beautiful and scenic downtown Milford. This year’s festivities are scheduled to occur on Wednesday evening, October 18, 2017.

“This is going to be an exciting year with this dynamic theme choice.” said parade Chairperson Charles Gray.  The theme was voted on after the committee requested assistance from the public through their Facebook page.  Several suggestions were given and committee members also reviewed anniversaries upcoming in 2017 for special moments in history and corporate celebrations.  Mr. Gray added, “After much discussion, the committee decided NASA’s 50th anniversary would play a part in this year’s parade theme.  We are looking for civic groups, children’s groups, school classes, floats and marching units that build their entry around outer space theme, Sci-fi movies, cartoons, NASA related milestones, Star Trek, Star Wars, the Jetsons and Aliens are just a few examples.”

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 over 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. According to Charles Gray, current Parade Chairperson, attendance has reached 30,000 in previous years with the multiple marching bands as the parade’s signature attraction.

“The marching bands we host are some of the best and travel from all over the Delmarva Peninsula and Pennsylvania to play to the thousands in attendance,” stated Jim Gray, band coordinator and Chairman of the Board for Milford Community Parades, Inc. “With the help of our sponsors, we host more than 10 bands annually.” Milford Community Parade Committee invites families, businesses, civic groups, fire companies, school groups and scouts to plan their entry as a decorated vehicle, float, marching unit or unique entry to enter on their website at www.milfordparade.com.  A quick-link to sign up is available, plus a downloadable entry form for convenience.  Both have a listing of entry types accepted.  Entering does not cost but business entries are asked to contribute twenty-five dollars.  The website also includes parade route information, detour information for the night of the parade, sponsor listing, rules to abide by, and vendor information as well.  The committee requests assistance with necessary funds to facilitate Milford’s largest parade.

“Without sponsors, the parade cannot march.” Stated Chairperson Charles Gray. Annually, the committee raises money to pay for portable restrooms, awards, and transportation grants for marching bands.  “Our signature appearance that makes the parade so popular and stand out is the amount of bands marching yearly.  Our numbers have hovered around 10 or more.”

“When the economy tanked in the late 80’s, the committee made the commitment to raise money to assist school districts that wanted to participate with their bands but could not because their funding had been cut,” remarked Carmen Kemper, Committee Treasurer. “Today, funds raised are allocated to bands we invite and we help through the grants.”  Sponsorships and contributions can be sent by regular mail to MCP Inc, PO Box 1153, Milford, DE 19963 or through the website utilizing Eventbrite.  The committee is a not-for-profit organization organized for the sole purpose of raising funds for the event and organizing the annual event.  Sponsorship ideas, or request for more information can be requested through the contact form at the website.  The committee also has a Facebook page used to promote the event fundraising events and its sponsors.

In 2016, the parade had more than 100 entries registered.  Vendors and reviewing stands were placed along the 1.7 mile route for the convenience of the attendees from all over Delmarva.  Vendors are mostly non-profit organizations or vendors contributing to non-profits as a fundraiser to assist with funding for local programs. Space is limited, previous vendors are invited to return and if space is open, the committee asks for requests from local non-profits to fill the space.  For more information about the parade, individuals are encouraged to contact the chairperson at milfordparade@aol.com.

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