Food festival electrifies downtown after storms

MILFORD — Pouring rain and a power outage can’t stop a party in Milford, at least not this year.

Originally scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9, Milford’s second annual International Food Festival was rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 16 after Hurricane Matthew surprised the area with more rain than expected.

If that wasn’t enough hassle for event organizer Lang Redden, the power went out in Milford just as the festival was getting started.

Downtown Milford, Inc.’s new Executive Director Steve Twilley said there was some concern about the electricity as “the oil temperatures started getting lower for some of the vendors,” but the crew soon found power from across the street.

Francisca Lara, 70 of Texas and Mexico, prepares food for consumers at the second annual Milford International Food Festival. Ms. Lara is from Milford and has come back for 25 years to visit family and support local festivals through Lupe’s Tacos. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

Francisca Lara, 70 of Texas and Mexico, prepares food for consumers at the second annual Milford International Food Festival. Ms. Lara is from Milford and has come back for 25 years to visit family and support local festivals through Lupe’s Tacos. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

“This is great. Over at Lupe’s Tacos, they’re sautéing meat and veggies and…,” he couldn’t continue the sentence because he and his wife were waiting for family members to arrive before they enjoyed lunch.

Francisca Lara, co-owner of Lupe’s Tacos, was, in fact, found sautéing foods as she helped prepare them for consumers.

According to her niece and food festival committee member, Tiffany Wolfe, Ms. Lara is from Milford, although she now lives in Texas and Mexico.

“All of her family is from here,” Ms. Wolfe said. “They were here for the Hispanic festival in Georgetown, it used to be in Millsboro. So they stayed for the Riverwalk Festival and fell in love with it. So I asked if they’d like to stay for the food festival, too.”

Although Ms. Lara does not speak English, her grandson and other family members were present during the festival to help bridge the gap.

“She’s come here for 25 years now. She takes advantage of the trip and goes to yard sales. She has her own truck and trailer,” her 25-year-old grandson from Milford, Ruben Lara, said before he confirmed the same with his 70-year-old grandmother in Spanish.

Jeremiah Rodriquez takes soccer seriously Sunday afternoon while playing with members of the Milford High School Boys’ Soccer team like senior Alex Toledo. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

Jeremiah Rodriquez takes soccer seriously Sunday afternoon while playing with members of the Milford High School Boys’ Soccer team like senior Alex Toledo. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

“When we were small, she had a bus and she would only have room for me. But I couldn’t even move my arms,” Mr. Lara said as they both laughed at the story.

She takes treasures found while yard sale hunting back to Mexico where she continues making her living. But here, in the United States, she enjoys making tacos and other ethnic dishes.

“All her ingredients come from Mexico. They’re all bought there,” Ms. Wolfe said of her Aunt’s business.

Other specialties found throughout the day at the Milford International Food Festival held downtown included soul food, Italian dishes by Touch of Italy, items from the local Dolce’s Bakery and Coffee Shop, “American” food by new-to-Milford U.S.S. Delaware and other vendors.

“The key thing is that we brought in people from Milford, but also from other areas,” Ms. Redden said. “Because of the changes, we had some no-shows; we did lose some people. But, we also gained some people, like the funnel cake vendor.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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