Parade deadline nears, vendors announced

MILFORD — As Halloween nears, so does a Milford staple: The community parade scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The committee behind the Milford Community Parade has announced that the deadline for parade entries is Oct. 8.

“We accept civic floats, costumed families, community leaders, car groups, horse groups, civic groups that march, scholarship and community pageant title holders and more,” said Charles Gray, parade chairperson.

The annual parade entry fee is free and businesses are requested to provide a contribution.

Entries can be submitted online at milfordparade.com.

Parade offers fundraising opportunities through food

Along with community spirit, the parade also serves the community by providing opportunity to area nonprofits to raise money through concessions.

This year’s parade food concessions are provided by the following groups and individuals: The Jones Foundation, Teresa Benson, Mr. Bar-B-Que, Milford Church of God and Milford Pop Warner.

The Jones Foundation will operate in the lineup area and at Milford City Hall Reviewing Stand.

Milford Pop Warner will be located in the parking lot of the previous downtown PNC Bank, now the City of Milford Customer Service Center.

Teresa Benson will be located at the State Service Center downtown next to the Mispillion River.

Mr. Bar-B-Que will be located in the city parking lot across from the old M&T Bank in downtown.

Milford Church of God will be located on their property.

Sponsors help pave the way

Sponsors like Richard Y. Johnson and Son, Representative Harvey Marvel, The Breakfast Club, Mohawk Electrical Systems, Downtown Milford, Inc. and families that have joined the “We Love the Parade” Campaign make the parade possible annually.

“Our sponsors are the heart of our community and the parade. Annually, the community steps up so families can step out for a great night of family-friendly fun,” Mr. Gray said.

Important parade notes

Walnut Street has been the home of the parade for more than thirty years. The beginning point is the intersection of Seabury Avenue and Walnut Street and the conclusion is the Milford High School parking area.

The reviewing stands will include lighting, announcers, and Portable restrooms. The three designated reviewing stands are located at City Hall, Milford Church of God, and the new, soon to be open, Milford Plant and Garden Center all located along Walnut Street.

Delmarva Broadcasting has been the host for many years at City Hall and the new Milford Plant and Garden Center, previously known as Gooden’s Florist.

“We are honored the city, Church of God Congregation and Lori Gooden has permitted this annual family-friendly event to continue and provide a location for the community to gather,” said Mrs. Marie Jo Gray, vendor coordinator. “Every year, so many families look forward to assembling on Walnut Street to share in a memory and an activity that has continued since 1939.”

The parade committee is expecting thirteen bands to march Walnut Street in 2016.

Mr. James Gray, chairman of the board and band coordinator said, “For more than 25 years, we have enlisted the help of the National Band Judges Association to critique area bands marching in the parade.  Behind the scenes, band directors see this as an opportunity to have judges they will possibly see in the spring, give them a ‘heads up’ on areas they will want to improve. We know that the bands are playing their hardest to get the best scores.”

The bands will come from Delaware, Eastern Shore Maryland, and even Pennsylvania.

In addition, the Smyrna Firemen’s Band will also appear. A band steeped in tradition is no stranger to the streets of Milford either.

“Smyrna has been marching along with us for more than thirty years.  We are honored that this band that has traveled to Washington D.C. and ‘across the pond’ to Ireland continues to participate,” stated Mr. Gray.

Jim and Marie Jo Gray Outstanding Spirit Awardee

Westside Restaurant was selected as the recipient of the Jim & Marie Jo Gray Outstanding Spirit Award. The restaurant staff has entered again this year and will be placed toward the front as part of their title perk from winning in 2015.

The previous winner was the Milford High School Cheerleaders in 2014 after walking the entire parade route in the wind and rain without losing a smile and a cheer for all the onlookers that also braved the elements for the show that went on regardless of the rainy conditions.

The award is given to the entry that demonstrates outstanding spirit from among all entries.  The parade committee determines the winner at the conclusion of the parade each year.

“Jim and Marie Jo have led this committee for more than 30 years with enthusiasm and a desire to show-off Milford to our surrounding communities and visitors. The committee felt there was no better way or persons to demonstrate the community spirit and outstanding spirit then Mr. & Mrs. Gray.” said Charles Gray, parade chairperson. “No matter what, no matter what challenges we faced, Mr. & Mrs. Gray were there to keep the enthusiasm high and press on, to persevere through to find the solutions and make that parade the best it can be, and we wanted to recognize them for their leadership.”

America The Beautiful is this year’s theme. More than 10 fire companies and local heroes will be represented when the parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m., along with scout groups, car groups, politicians and more.

“This year, we are excited to have the Delaware State Police mounted patrol join us,” said Mr. Charles Gray. “They, along with all of the officers along the route and those enlisted to serve our communities, are the unsung heroes.  We are thankful for their service and their families’ sacrifice so they may protect our community.”

Interested groups, businesses and individuals can still enter the parade and become sponsors at www.milfordparade.com.

A contact form for questions is also available on the site along with a map of the parade route, rules, and detour map for visitors. A page for sponsors is also included.

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