Ducks, boats, music and beer: Largest annual outdoor festival in Milford back with a bang

MILFORD — A one-day bash complete with fireworks, live music, a duck race, children’s activities and a beer garden is headed for downtown Milford Saturday, Sept. 8.

Angela Dorey of Dorey Insurance and other volunteers from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, CCGM, have spent a year planning the upcoming festival. With more than 100 vendors and sponsors lined up, they’re more excited than ever.

“The whole day is exciting as over 100 vendors and volunteers start around 6 am, and doesn’t end until around 10 p.m.  During the course of the day, thousands of attendees enjoy the festivities that are family-friendly, from Walnut Street to Bicentennial Park, and everywhere in between,” CCGM Executive Director Jo Schmeiser said.

An added bonus? The Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival lays claim to “Milford’s only annual fireworks display,” she added.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with activities ready for all ages, along with the Southern Delaware Street Rod Association’s annual car show located in the Park Place parking lot and overflowing onto Park Avenue.

The car show will run through 2 p.m. and accept registrations from owners of vehicles 30 years old or older for $10 each. A dash plaque will be given to the first 50 cars registered. The top 10 cars of the day will receive awards. For more information on the car show, call Mary Jackson at 302-422-8112.

Pets will be seen soon after strutting their best outfits during the Petriotic Parade which begins at 11 a.m. Ms. Schmeiser credits corporate sponsors Dover Federal Credit Union for the success in organizing this event for 2018. They will be working with Paula Sangeleer as emcee from Cool 101.3.

“The Petriotic Park is always a hit, as people love to show off their pets, and dress them up in Patriotic attire.  And of course, the best dressed will win prizes as well as bragging rights,” Ms. Schmeiser said.

Live bands begin playing in Bicentennial Park at noon, more this year than ever before. The Red, White, & Brew Garden opens at noon, as well.

“In addition to all the usual wonderful things going on, the popularity of the, new last year, Red, White & Brew Garden is going to be open from noon until 10 instead of from 4-9 like it was last year.  Also, in addition to wine and beer from NKS Distributors, we’re adding Arena’s Orange Crushes to the garden.  And this year we’re recruiting several groups of volunteer servers who will be raising money for their favorite charities by obtaining tips,” Ms. Schmeiser said.

While guests enjoy vendors or the Red, White, & Brew Garden, Steve Monz from Cool 101.3 will emcee the event as live bands play from noon until the end of the event.

The annual Duck Dash will begin at 1 p.m., but the ducks will be in the Mispillion River all morning until the race begins. Ducks can be registered at the CCGM booth on Washington Street for $5 each. Prizes for winning ducks are as follows: the third-place duck registrant will take home $50 cash, $100 cash for second place and $200 cash for the duck coming in first place during the race.

Vendors and many activities will wrap up by 4 p.m., but festivities will continue as live music rocks on at Bicentennial Park. As the event rolls closer to dusk when fireworks will light up the sky, the annual Patriotic Boat Parade will entertain those watching.

Starting at 6:30 p.m., boats will find their ways along the Mispillion River in hopes of earning the first-place prize of $100. Boats do not have to be decorated and registration is free. They will launch at the boat launch behind the Milford Police Department.

For more information on the Patriotic Boat Parade or to register, contact Freeboard Construction Owner and event sponsor David Daino at 302-448-1414, or the CCGM at 302-422-3344.

The Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival will wrap up with the announcement of this year’s Hometown Heroes Award and, of course, fireworks.

“The Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival is Milford’s largest annual outdoor event, as it runs from 9 a.m. until around 10 p.m. and includes a Petriotic Park, over 100 vendors, a Kids Korner, live bands, a Brew Garden, local entertainment, activities at the Milford Public Library and the library amphitheater, the Farmer’s Market is open, we celebrate two Hometown Heroes, have a Patriotic Boat Parade, paddle boats, the Duck Dash and the fireworks,” Ms. Schmeiser said of this can’t-miss-event.

But, Ms. Dorey says, the event wouldn’t be a success without its volunteers.

“We have a dedicated committee of 20+ people that work on planning the festival all year long. But for the day of, we need over 130 volunteers people ages 13 and up for shifts of one hour to four hours,” she said.

Those interested in volunteering at the Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival should view opportunities and sign up for slots at http://signup.com/go/RiverwalkFestival2018.

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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