This year the 13th annual Bug and Bud Festival will include the popular kayak race down the mighty Mispillion River that began last year with a finish in the downtown district on Saturday, April 23. The Shipbuilder River Race starts at 9 am and is hosted by Downtown Milford, Inc. and the City of Milford Parks and Recreation Department.
“I think it’s in keeping with the whole “River Town, Art Town, Home Town” theme, we have spent a good amount of time building the Riverwalk and making improvements alongside the river, it only makes sense to offer more things to bring people to actually use the river,” said Milford Parks & Recreation Director Brad Dennehy.
There will be two races that day including a 3-mile and an 8-mile kayak, double kayak, canoe and paddle board races as both races will start together. All paddlers must provide their own kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board. The courses are out and back, however finish line is approximately a 1/3 of a mile west of the start line towards town. The finish line will take participants directly under the pedestrian bridge over the Mispillion River.
“We are hoping that anyone with a kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board will want to enter,” said Dennehy. “We are hoping to draw not only local residents but paddlers from the wider community.”
An awards ceremony will be held at12:00 p.m. under the tent alongside the Milford dog park, located at the end of Marshall Street. After the ceremony, paddlers are encouraged to enjoy the Mispillion Riverwalk, a two mile pedestrian and bicycle path, as well as Goat Island Nature Preserve. A manmade island, Goat Island was created by local shipbuilders in the 1940’s as they needed to straighten out the path of the Mispillion River to make way for the wooden subchasers that were built in Milford shipyards. These subchasers were used in the larger war effort during World War II as many of them saw service around the world including Pearl Harbor, Normandy and Japan. The target area of the Goat Island project consists of a nine acre island located within the city limits containing four adjoining habitat environments: high woodland, tidal flooded woodland, tidal freshwater wetland marsh and open water.
“Ultimately we want to get people out on the water having fun, however we are hoping to build an event that people put on their calendar and look forward to every year, which brings out not only the local residents but also appeals to a wider audience,” said Dennehy. “Basically it’s all about showcasing what Milford has to offer. If they come for a kayak race and stay for a festival and have had fun then we have succeeded.”
The entry fee is $25 per paddler. Paddlers should drop off their equipment by the boat ramp next to the Milford Police Station on NE Front Street but should park directly across the street at the old “Growmark” building. Organizers of the event ask that participants please note that all access ways to the Police Department must remain clear at all times.There is a new website for the event with more information, maps and parking formation. Entry forms and documentation can be downloaded from the website at http://paddlemilford.com.