Milford Parade Seeks Volunteers

The Milford Community Parade Committee is seeking the community’s assistance in preparation for the upcoming community parade on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.  The committee is in search of additional volunteers, parade entries and sponsors. 

“The event is a tradition families have shared from generation to generation,” said parade Chairperson Charles Gray. “The combination of music and visual arts such as floats, marching units and costumed individuals, provide a sense of awe, of wonder, and excitement whether parents and children alike experience it for the first time or the 25th time together.”

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 parade theme is To The Stars And Beyond. Awards are presented to the top three winners in several category.  “We are excited to see this year’s entries and their interpretations for the theme,” said Marie Jo Gray, entry coordinator. “We have provided suggestions such as captain Buzz Lightyear, or the Jetsons. In addition, Star Trek and Star Wars, NASA and aliens.  We hope to see a variety.” 

Each year the theme is decided by the committee. The discussion centers around trends and anniversaries in most years.  This year, the committee decided to go with outer space since NASA is celebrating 50 years.  According to Mrs. Gray, the theme is made broad enough so anyone can find a creative thought that others can identify or relate with.  Entries use the theme to promote their community and educational programs. 

“[We want people to feel] happiness, togetherness, community pride. In today’s world  everyone is fast-paced, 10 second attention to everything, negative community reports, and national turmoil,” said Charles. “The parade is a break from all of the negativity.  A sense of family among neighbors.”

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 Gray, attendance has reached 30,000 in previous years with the multiple marching bands as the parade’s signature attraction.

Jim Gray, the parade band coordinator, states that sponsors are the life-blood of the event. “We invite 10 or more bands to participate and the committee tries to raise money annually for the transportation costs of those bands.  We are living in a time where bands are very limited to their budgets for transportation costs and so bands do not travel for parades as much outside of their own community,” he said.  Jim has seen great years and lean years for sponsorships. “This is a very lean year and we need sponsors to help us so we can continue to offer a great family experience.  It is easy to sit along the sideline and watch the parade.  Our planning is year round and our budget tops $10,000 annually.”

Gray states that the organization is thankful for sponsors that have continued to support the parade annually including Mohawk Electrical Systems and Kent County Levy Court and encouraged by new sponsors like the The Law Offices of Doroshow Pasquale Krawitz & Bhaya. The parade website, www.milfordparade.com, offers an easy way to contribute with a $25 contribution or a $100 contribution suggested to businesses.  Anyone interested in learning more can contact the parade committee at milfordparade@aol.com.

“This event is an educational/introductory vehicle for businesses, organizations and individuals of Milford in front of Milford and surrounding community families,” said Charles. 

Along with sponsors, the committee is looking for additional volunteers. Volunteers help with entry placement in the line-up area, assist master of ceremonies with accurate entry information, set-up and clean-up.  A single volunteer does not partake in all activities.  Carmen Kemper, line-up coordinator, remarked “A single person can help in the line-up area, and another volunteer may just assist with emcee entry info or just help with set-up. We appreciate our volunteers and most return year after year.  In fact, all committee members are volunteers and most have been involved for more than 25 years.”

For more information about the parade, individuals are encouraged to contact the chairperson at milfordparade@aol.com.

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