Downtown Milford was full of energy on Thursday, August 17 as families packed the Riverwalk to be a part of the monthly 3rd Thursday event, aimed at bringing awareness to downtown’s business and historical districts as well as its recreational opportunities. This month’s 3rd Thursday theme was Light Up the River. Children and adults had the opportunity to create origami boats at the Milford Public Library to float down the Mispillion River. Many individuals also placed luminaries along the banks to honor loved ones as families watched the boats float as the sun set.
“I had always liked the idea of a lantern festival. But flying lanterns are not always ecologically friendly,” said Lang Redden, organizer of this month’s theme and Partner of downtown business Archology. “So when the City and DMI started talking about a river event I started thinking about river lanterns.” Redden’s mother taught her origami as a child and she believed that local families would enjoy the experience as well.
Tiffany Walter of Milford said her family had a fun experience playing with friends and stated that “something magical happened” as they got so calm and attentive to what was going to happen with the boats.
“It was the kind of night where memories were made,” said Walter. “Candlelight, family, friends, a true feeling of community. We left shortly after, and something rare and unusual happened, no one complained about anything. It was great seeing so many people we know downtown but what surprised and excited me was how many new faces we saw.”
As with every 3rd Thursday in Downtown Milford, businesses were open late and food trucks lined the streets for families to enjoy a stroll throughout the downtown area. The monthly event has become a unique way for residents and visitors to discover Milford’s retail shops, art galleries, live theatre and many recreational activities on the Mispillion River.
Peggy Reilly, organizer of Milford’s Downtown Entrepreneur Networking Group says that the participating businesses and local supporters have really been an active force in growing the 3rd Thursday event each month. “Downtown Milford is the heart of the City of Milford,” said Reilly. “As the revitalization continues to be worked on, Downtown needs to remain vibrant. Based on the Light Up the River event, the community is supporting us as we grow the businesses. I can only foresee Downtown getting better.”
In addition to new businesses like the Novel Tea Nook on SW Front Street and a new location for the Greater Milford Chamber of Commerce in the historic Windsor Hotel on NW Front Street, visitors will see several major construction efforts that are part of the Downtown Development District efforts and the Rivertown Rebirth Plan. The former Lou’s Bootery on the corner of Walnut and Front Street is being rehabilitated by the Bond family as they plan to place a commercial business on the first floor and one apartment on each additional floor. In an effort to provide additional art instruction in Milford, the Mispillion Art League has expanding into a larger classroom space in the area behind the current gallery. The Music School of Delaware’s Milford Branch is in the process on expanding with a move to its new location at 29 N. Walnut Street which includes additional private lesson rooms and a recital hall that will seat 60. Touch of Italy is waiting on a State approval to receive an interior building permit to begin construction of a restaurant in the historic Milford Trust Co. building on the corner of Front Street and Walnut Street and engineering firm Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc. has completed construction on Park Avenue.
During the next 3rd Thursday event, downtown merchants and Downtown Milford, Inc. will be helping the City of Milford celebrate the 230th Birthday of Milford with a celebration on Thursday, September 21 from 5 to 8pm. To get involved, individuals can contact the Downtown Milford, Inc. office at 302-839-1180 or visit the event on DMI’s Facebook page.
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