Freedom Festival Packed with Entertainment


by Terry Rogers



Jim Newton was named the 2015 Hometown Hero during the Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival.

Saturday, September 14 from 9 AM until dusk, downtown Milford will be filled with crafters, vendors, food trucks and more when the 19th Annual Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milford, takes place. Just as in past years, the event will also include the Duck Dash, a car show, Kids Corner, the Petriotic Pet Parade and more.

“This year, we will open the Red White and Brew Garden at noon,” Angela Dorey, Chairman of the event, said. “The area is family-friendly with cornhole games, a photo booth and chairs to relax and listen to the music. It is a great place to enjoy the bands and stay for the stunning fireworks show that will take place at dusk. This year, we are excited to be partnering with BenVenuto to offer a signature cocktail in the garden that they have created specifically for their new restaurant and the festival. They will also be providing samples of some of the menu items they will have when the restaurant opens later this year.”

One of the highlights of the event is the entertainment that will take place throughout the day. There will be special performances by the Milford School District Music Department, the Milford Community Band and dance studios in the Milford Library Amphitheater. Bicentennial Park will be the site of live bands starting at noon.

The entertainment starts with Reunion, an eight-piece ensemble playing classic rock and soul music. Band members Bill Englehart, Matt Spong, Robert Marston, Brand Englehart, Mac McDonald, Sam Michael, Ginny Lockwood and Bobbie Hartz has its roots in the Dover All Stars Reunion Concerts which began in 2007 which produced The Draw, a popular band that performed throughout the area from 2008 to 2011. The band continues to pay tribute to the Dover All Stars and the Draw, playing the oldies that people love as well as some newer material that reflects the talent of their members.

Major General Valvala during “Operation Giveback” at the 2013 Riverwalk Freedom Festival.

At 2 PM, Federal Street Band will take the stage, playing a variety of old, new and current music. The band focuses on country, rock and mixes as well as some of their own original songs. Band members include Bobby Jones, Trent Hitchens, Alex Kasmanian, Dave Docute and Mark Tappan. The band is proud of their unique format, mixing up originals with covers and feeding off what the crowd wants to hear.

Although originally scheduled to play before Federal Street Band, a scheduling change required Lincoln City to take the stage a little later at 4 PM. Originally known as the 5:01 Band, Lincoln City has been performing since 2005. They play a variety of rock music ranging from the 19602 through the 1990s. Band members include Brian Davis, Kirby Fitzgerald, Dan Robert and Donnie Culver. Band members like to call their style of music “BBQ rock” because it is “not too hard and not too soft,” just great music to hang out and listen to while relaxing with friends.

Before the last band, Plead the 5th, takes the stage, the winner of the Patriotic Boat Parade will be announced. The parade includes motorized boats as well as canoes and kayaks decorated in red, white and blue gear with an award for the most patriotic boat. The Hometown Hero Awards will also be presented at that time. One male and one female who has contributed to the Milford community will be recognized with an award that evening.

Plead the 5th will take the stage, playing the hits of today along with many that will be remembered from the past. They will play up until the fireworks that will begin at dusk, more than likely around 8:30 PM.

Another new addition this year is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society “Light the Night,” designed to raise funds for awareness of the foundation. From 5 to 9 PM, participants will walk with colored lanterns whose color depicts the affiliation with the group. White lanterns are carried by survivors, supporters will carry red lanterns and those who are walking in memory of someone they lost to the disease will carry gold lanterns. 

“We are encouraging everyone to bring chairs or blankets, find a spot in the grass in front of the stage in the park or in the Red, White and Brew Garden to enjoy awesome live music that evening,” Dorey said. “From anywhere in the park, there will be the perfect view of the fireworks display that is highly anticipated each year. You can spend the day learning more about the many services available in our town, purchase some local items, enjoy great food from a wide range of food trucks and even enjoy an adult beverage inside the Beer Garden. We are excited for the fun events we have planned for this year and hope to see many faces enjoying our Riverwalk and the park at the largest outdoor festival in town!”

Dorey also pointed out that there are still volunteer opportunities available at the festival with help needed in Kids Corner and other areas. There are still open guest bartending spots available after 4 PM. Guest bartenders can sign up for an hour shift in the name of a charity of their choice. Any tips collected during that hour are donated to the charity.

“It is a really great way to have some fun and earn some money for a good cause,” Dorey said. “The bartenders we have used in the past have all been thrilled to come back and do it again because it is a so much fun.” Sign up for volunteer positions at

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