by Terry Rogers
Milford’s largest outdoor festival will return on September 8 when the Riverwalk Freedom Festival kicks off at 9 AM throughout downtown. This year, there will be a few new attractions along with the popular activities and events from years before.
“We are excited for this year’s event,” Chairperson Angela Dorey said. “One difference from previous years is that we will have live music in Bicentennial Park earlier in the day from 11:30 until the firework display at dusk.” Music will begin with a local band, Cocktails at 3 who will play from 11:30 AM until 1:30 PM. The will be followed by Lincoln City who will play from 2 until 4 PM and then Federal Street Band will perform from 4 PM to 6 PM. Plead the 5th will begin performing at 6 PM. Cool 101.3 radio personality, Steve Monz, will emcee all the excitement in Bicentennial Park beginning at 5 PM, with the grand finale of the fireworks display that will start at dark.
Returning this year is the Hometown Heroes Award, sponsored by Milford LIVE. Presented at 6 PM, this award recognizes two people in the community, nominated by the public, who have provided outstanding service to the Milford community.
The Kids Corner will be open in and around Memorial Park, along the Riverwalk, as well as in the basketball courts again with children’s games available from 9 AM to 4 PM. This year, there is a $1 fee to enter the basketball courts and children can play unlimited games in order to earn tickets for prizes. There will be free fire and armored truck rides provided by Bowers and Memorial Fire Companies as well as cash activities like pony rides and bouncy houses.
The Petriotic Parade will return at 11 AM with prizes award for the pet dressed in the most patriotic outfits. The Pet Park, sponsored by Dover Federal Credit Union, will open at 9 AM, offering dog pools, pet-related vendors and guest speakers like Sherry Shupe, owner of Fur-Baby Boutique in downtown Milford. Cool 101.3 radio personality, Paula Sangeleer, will once again emcee events in the Pet Park. The Pet Park is located on Washington Street. Registration for the Petriotic Parade begins at 10:30 AM and winners will be announced at noon.
In addition to Milford School District staff volunteering their time in the Dunk Tank this year, City of Milford leaders, including City Manager Eric Norenberg, Chief of Police Kenneth Brown and Mayor Archie Campbell have agreed to get dunked. The cost for three tries to dunk someone in the booth is only $1. Proceeds from the Dunk Tank will be donated to Milford School District to benefit student organizations such as National Honor Society and different sports teams who volunteer their time at the festival.
The Duck Dash will be held around 1 PM with 800 numbered rubber ducks set loose on the Mispillion River in a dash for the finish line. Ducks can be purchased from the Chamber of Commerce Booth located on Washington Street during the festival. Each duck is $5 with the first place duck winning $200, second place winning $100 and the third place duck winning $50.
The Patriotic Boat Parade will also return this year, encouraging festival attendees to enjoy the scenic Mispillion River. “This year, we have added the opportunity for non-motorized boats to participate, including canoes and kayaks,”Dorey said. Individuals wanting to participate can call 422-3344 to register their boat for the parade. A $100 prize for the most patriotic entry will be awarded before the fireworks.
Throughout town, there will be food trucks and craft vendors as well as local businesses offering information and specials. The Southern Delaware Street Rods Association car show will return from 9 AM to 2 PM in the Park Place parking lot. Performances throughout the day at the library amphitheater starting at 10 AM by TADA Dance Academy, Diamond Dance Company and Delaware Music School.
This year the Red, White and Brew Garden will return with extended hours. “This year, the garden will open at noon with beer, wine and orange crushes for sale,” Dorey said. “Free cornhole games will be available as well as standing tables and limited seating. We encourage people to bring their lawn chair to relax and enjoy the live music with a view of the river. The garden is family-friendly, but you must be 21 to purchase alcohol. ID must be presented. All alcohol must remain in the designated area. All bartenders are volunteers and any tips they collect will go to a charity they have identified.”
Volunteers are still needed for the event. Anyone who wants to volunteer can visit http://signup.com/go/RiverwalkFestival2018 to see opportunities and to sign up. To show their appreciation, event Chair Angela Dorey of Dorey Insurance and Mr. Bar-B-Que, will be giving a free sandwich voucher for the day of the festival for those who volunteer. For more information, individuals can contact the Chamber of Commerce at 422-3344.