Milford Named Village of the Year


by Terry Rogers



Kent County Tourism recently announced that Milford has been named the 2018 Village of the Year. The City will be recognized for the award at the Annual Celebration of Tourism Luncheon and Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 9. In addition to the town’s recognition, Downtown Milford, Inc., the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford and the City of Milford Parks & Recreation Department will also be recognized at the luncheon for their efforts in creating a tourism destination.

“Visitors to Kent County especially love going to Milford for the thriving art scene and the numerous events held in the City,” Wendie Vestfall, Executive Director of Kent County Tourism, said. “These include the Inaugural Milford Ladybug Music Festival and the Riverwalk Freedom Festival. With the opening of the Riverwalk Kayak launch, Milford is now a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts. Plus, no one can resist visiting one of the many great restaurants or grabbing a drink at Mispillion River Brewing or EasySpeak Spirits.”

Vestfall explained that Milford was the overwhelming winner when Kent County Tourism held their Familizaration Tour in June when participants were asked their favorite part of the tour.

“Receiving the email, and on a Monday, from the Executive Director of Kent County Tourism stating that Milford is winning an award for 2018 Village of the Year was so exciting,” Jo Schmeiser, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, said. “However, hearing that the participants of the recent FAM Tour, who travel all around, said that of all the places they toured in Kent County, that Milford was their favorite, well, that says a lot. I’m proud to be the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, as I have a front seat to all the wonderful things that continue happening in and around Milford. I feel so blessed to get to work with so many great people who make Milford a wonderful place to work, live and play.”

The Village of the Year Award is part of Kent County Tourism’s Delaware Quaint Villages program which is designed to promote tourism in some of the small towns throughout the state. The program explains that great vacations come in pieces with keepsakes, souvenirs, sensations and experiences.

“In Kent County, these small pieces build on each other to create something wholly unique,” Vestfall said. “The Delaware Quaint Villages program is designed to promote events, shopping, outdoor activities, history, food and drink in each small town in order to encourage travelers to visit these locations. The program spotlights 20 different small towns throughout Kent County that all offer something unique and individual, from locally brewed beers to tax-free shopping to outdoor adventures and more.”

City Manager Eric Norenberg was gratified that Kent County Tourism recognized the efforts of Downtown Milford, Inc., the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, the City of Milford and many property owners, residents, businesses and organizations who have made Milford a distinctive destination.

“Special events organized by many different organizations are supporting and enhancing the unique and desirable quality of life found here in Milford,” Norenberg said. “In addition, past public investment has led to increasing private investment in downtown and other parts of Milford, bringing more destination businesses and restaurants.”

Sara Pletcher, President of Downtown Milford, Inc., echoed Norenberg and Schmeiser’s sentiments about the recognition.

“Being selected as Kent County Tourism’s 2018 Village of the Year is proof Milford collaborates well with organizations, both inside and outside of the City,” Pletcher said. “Partnering with Gable Music Ventures from Wilmington to bring the Inaugural Ladybug Festival, one of the noted reasons we won this award, to Milford in September was a smashing success and the City’s support of the Festival speaks to that success. We’re honored and humbled to be recognized with the City and the Chamber.”

Tickets are available for the Awards Luncheon which will be held at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover from 11 AM until 2 PM. The cost is $50 per person or $300 per table for eight. More information can be found here or by calling 734-4888, Ext. 101.

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