By Brenda Crowell

Staff Reporter

After being on hiatus for the past two years due to COVID-19, Celebrate Milford is back on for this year. The festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, beginning with a parade featuring small kids and a marching band at 10 a.m.

“This is our first year back in a little bit, but nothing is really changing as far as what we’re doing,” Celebrate Milford President Joseph Soares told the Milford Select Board at its February 14 meeting. “It’s always been a family-friendly event for the town of Milford and the greater Milford area to enjoy, and we expect to put on the same type of event.”

The parade route will begin at the Stacy Middle School parking lot, then proceed through the Memorial School parking lot, turn left onto Walnut Street, left on Congress Street, left on Spruce Street, and end back at Stacy Middle School. The Select Board approved the two permits to obstruct requested by Celebrate Milford to make sure that traffic is blocked from the parade route.

Besides the parade, Soares noted that the festival will include food vendors, a beer garden, live music, and a kids zone area. The Select Board also approved a one-day all-alcohol license and one-time entertainment license for the event.

“It’s a great day. You’ve done a great job,” said Select Board member Thomas O’Loughlin. “I applaud you and I’ll be happy to be there. I think it’s fantastic.”

The kids zone will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. There is an admission fee of $5 per child, which includes unlimited access to bouncy houses, an inflatable obstacle course, football toss, basketball skill shots, inflatable sumo wrestling, inflatable soccer games, and more.

Per the application Soares submitted to the Board, approximately 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected to attend. The event is free and open to the public.

“We felt it was time to move forward and bring this event back,” Soares told the Board.

“We’re glad you didn’t let it go,” replied O’Loughlin.

Celebrate Milford is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which began in 2015. Proceeds from past Celebrate Milford events have been put toward scholarships for graduating seniors and town beautification projects, among other things.

“We plan to continue to do that. It’s a fundraising event, to be sure,” Soares added.

“Whatever you do is definitely top-notch,” said Select Board member Paul Mazzuchelli. “Fifteen thousand people can come to this event at one time. It’s just wonderful.”

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“The first thing that caught my eye was the expected number of people. I remember the first year you did the event, it was a success, and every year it gets bigger and bigger,” Select Board Chair Michael Walsh said. “It really is a family event. Thank you to your committee. A lot of people don’t realize the work that goes into putting it on.”

The rain date for Celebrate Milford is Sunday, May 15.

“It’s all about bringing the culture of Milford,” Soares said. “A lot of people do a lot of work behind the scenes. They do a really good job.”