by Terry Rogers
On Wednesday, one of the most anticipated fall events will “step off” in Milford when the Milford Community Parade begins at 6:30 PM. The parade marches along Walnut Street, starting at the former Milford Middle School building and ending at the Milford High School football stadium. This year’s theme is “Autumn Spooktacular.”
“We expect to see some fun and scary entries this year,” Charles Gray, Parade Chairperson, said. “We like to see how groups interpret the theme to get their messages out or the fun things they like to share in the celebration. Families arrive downtown early to get a bite to eat at the vendor locations and stake their claim to their favorite viewing spot.”
Over the years, public figures, dignitaries, equestrian clubs, costumed families and businesses have joined local school marching bands and fire companies as they stroll down Walnut Street, waving at onlookers who line the street. Judges stands are set up throughout the parade route and prizes are awarded in several different categories. In January, an additional award was given by the parade committee. The Outstanding Spirit Award was given to the First Presbyterian Church of Milford for 2017.
“Not only did they participate in the parade, they offered a presentation, free to the public, about the NASA space suit program from a local company that constructs the spacesuits,” Carmen Kemper, Treasurer, said. “This fit in well with last year’s theme of “To the Stars and Beyond.” Some of the entries were incredible last year.”
This year’s Grand Marshall for the parade is Marvin Schelhouse, a commissioner for the Milford Museum and a member of the Milford School District Board of Education. Schelhouse said that he was honored to have been chosen as this year’s Grand Marshall and that he is looking forward to seeing all the creativity that goes into the floats and other entries each year.
The Milford Community Parade brings more than 10,000 visitors to downtown Milford with Milford Police Department reporting that there have been more than 30,000 lining the streets watching the parade. The first Halloween parade was held in Milford as far back as 1938, but lack of a committee resulted in many years when it was not held.
“Mayor Ronnie Rogers came to my dad, Jim Gray, who owned a barbershop downtown, and asked him if he would lead a committee to bring the parade back,” Charles Gray said. “In our family, when one is involved in an event, everyone gets involved, so it wasn’t long before my dad, my sister, my mother and even extended family from Dover, Harrington, Houston, Lincoln and Magnolia were involved. Over the years, it has been the spectators who keep us going, but we cannot thank our sponsors enough.” Sponsors for this year’s parade include Burris Logistics, Milford Rent-All, Wilson Auction Sales, County Bank, I.G. Burton & Company along with many more. In addition to businesses, individuals and families contribute to the success of the fair.
Detour maps and directions are available at the parade website, which can be found at www.milfordparade.com. The committee partners with DelDOT and the Milford Police Department to make visitors and those traveling in the area aware of the detours necessary for the parade. As in past years, one strict rule is that parade participants are not permitted to hand out anything from the parade in order to keep spectators and entrants safe. Candy, paper, flyers or other objects may not be handed out along the parade route. In addition, the parade is a rain or shine event.
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