Culture Headlines

Bug & Bud Festival Springs Into Life April 23

33On Saturday, April 23 Downtown Milford Inc. (DMI) and Milford Parks and Recreation will hold their 13th Annual Bug & Bud Festival. This year event goers can enjoy over 200 food and merchant vendors, downtown businesses, activities and entertainment. DMI estimates that the crowd this year will be around 10,000 people walking the streets and enjoying downtown Milford.

“The festival is a source of pride for the people of Milford and the surrounding area,” commented Marilyn Ambrose, Co-chairperson of the Bug & Bud Festival. “It is a reminder each year of our commitment to the ladybug and our designation as a tree city.”

The Bug & Bud Festival is a celebration of two of Milford’s most cherished symbols, the ladybug and nature. The significance of the ladybug in Delaware is tied to Milford when a local second grade class petitioned the Delaware State Legislature in 1973 to accept the ladybug as the official State Bug. The festival also serves as a celebration of Arbor Day and Milford’s designation as a USA Tree City.

The Bug & Bud Festival serves to honor the city in several different ways, highlighting Milford’s branding, ‘River town, Art town, Hometown’ by accenting the Mispillion River, showing off the many different local artists and attracting people to the downtown business district. Over the years the festival has not only attracted people from Milford but also from several surrounding areas.

The Mispillion River will be open for fishing and paddle boats as Bicentennial Park will be full of family activities including pony rides, games, entertainment and food.  Downtown businesses such as Blooming Boutique & Milford Gifts, Dolce Bakery & Coffee Shop, Irish Rose Gift Shop, Mispillion Antiques, Fur-Baby Boutique, Doggie Daycare & Spa and Sugar Bee Candy Store will be open among the other downtown merchants. The arts will be highlighted as The Delaware Music School, Gallery 37, Live Cheap & Make Art Studios, Mispillion Art League and the Riverfront Theatre will be open among other art venues. Downtown restaurants and bars that day including Abbott’s Grill, Arena’s Deli & Bar, Georgia House, Longshots Sports Bar & Billiards, Park Place Restaurant & Lounge and the Milford Tavern will also be open for business.

The traditional kickoff parade that begins the festival each year, which includes children dressed as trees or ladybugs, also includes the family pet this year. All the participants in the parade must meet at 9:30 am in the parking lot of the Calvary Methodist Church at 301 SE Front Street. The Milford Community Band, “Bug Strutters,” will lead the parade along the Mispillion Riverwalk as the grand Marshall of the parade this year will be Downtown Milford Inc.’s first President Dr. Don Abrutyn. All the prize winners, human and furry, will be announced at the library amphitheater after the parade.

“It is our hope that families will experience and enjoy Milford’s Riverwalk, local downtown businesses and friendly, happy Milfordians and come back to Milford to shop and eat our downtown businesses,” said Ambrose. “Besides, where else can you see a goat dressed as a Ladybug parading on the Riverwalk.”

Returning to the festival this year will be the Shipbuilder River Race, a kayak race down the mighty Mispillion River with a finish in the downtown district. The Shipbuilder River Race starts at 9 am and is hosted by Downtown Milford, Inc. and the City of Milford Parks and Recreation Department. 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 the finish line is approximately a 1/3 of a mile west of the start line towards town.

“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.”

“You won’t want to miss this over-the-top outdoor festival,” commented Ambrose. “Come listen to some great music, eat some great food, cruise in a lady bug paddle boat, don your lady bug costume for the parade, shop local and most important of all think ladybug.” For more information, individuals are encouraged to contact the Downtown Milford, Inc. office at 302-839-1180 or visit and follow the festival links.

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