Culture Headlines

Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival Plans Underway

The tradition of the Firefighters Tug-of-War Competition is always a favorite for event goers.

The 2016 Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival is fast approaching. Dedicated volunteers are working diligently to prepare old favorites while adding some new activities to Milford’s largest outdoor festival. The two day event begins on Friday night September 9th, with Operation Giveback in Bi-Centennial Park. The event will show support to active duty military and veterans. With proper military ID individuals will receive a free meal from Mr. Bar-B-Que, while supplies last, and several other food vendors will be offering discounts to family of military. That night the Patriotic Boat Parade will float down the Mispillion River, live music will beperformed by the Milford Community Band and a grand finish to the evening will be the traditional Fireworks show at dusk.

The Hometown Heroes awards will be back this year. Last year the Levitsky Sisters, two WWII nurses, were honored as the 2015 Hometown Heroes. While on duty in France, the pair served as members of the 164th General Hospital from August 1944 to April 1945. During the war Ellan applied anesthesia to soldiers and Dorothy worked as a staff nurse in the hospital wards. According to the WWII US Medical Research Centre, the hospital saw a total admission of 3,455 patients from October, 5 to December, 31 1944, with 31% medical cases and 69% surgical cases.

Marathon runner Jim Newton was also honored as the 2015 Hometown Hero. In 2014 Newton found a large lump on the side of his neck and immediately went to see his physician. After numerous tests, it was determined that he had mantle cell lymphoma, a rare and aggressive blood cancer. Although his own medical bills become a burden as he continued to treat his own cancer, he used money raised through his running efforts to help fight leukemia and lymphoma for others.

Beginning on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 families can vote through email at or on the Facebook page for two individuals, one male and one female, that they believe represent the title of Hometown Hero. Submissions should include a photo of the individual and a short description of what makes them a hero. Candidates for the Hometown Hero title can be veterans or current military, first responders or other individuals in the community. Deadline for nominations is Friday September 2nd, 2016.

Saturday, September 10th, starting at 9 am, event goers can stroll through all of downtown Milford, along the Mispillion Riverwalk and Bi-Centennial Park to visit with over 100 vendors and activities. There will be a car show, kids inflatable bouncing zone, obstacle course, petting zoo, dunk tank, face painting, the annual First Responders Tug of War, Duck Dash, paddle boats, local dance schools, Abbots Mill Nature Center and more.

As a large festival sponsor, Bayhealth Medical Center is hosting their second annual Health Expo all day Saturday in Bi-Centennial Park. They will be sharing information about Bayhealth’s many health programs while also offering health screenings and many more fun activities. Again this year, furry family members will have the chance to show their pride in the second annual Petriotic Park with vendors for four-legged friends and a Petriotic Parade on Saturday with prizes for the most patriotic costume.

The Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival event committee is currently seeking sponsors for Operation Giveback, the fireworks display, Duck Dash, Kids Corner, First Responders Tug of War and other parts of the event. Although the festival requires a lot of monetary donations, it also requires many volunteers. Opportunities are available for ages 13 and up to help. For clubs, organizations or businesses needing service hours, the RWFF is a great place to help fill those hours. Individuals can also get involved by serving on the committee all year or as little as a few hours at the festival. For additional information about being a sponsor, vendor, volunteer or participant in any way, individuals are encouraged to contact Festival Chair Angela Dorey at 424-8459, or the Chamber office 422-3344.

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