Milford’s Riverwalk ‘Freedom’ Festival set for this weekend with fireworks, Light the Night fundraiser

September will be filled with excitement thanks to festivals around Milford like the 19th annual Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival Saturday, Sept. 14.

Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, the event typically brings in thousands of visitors and hundreds of vendors and sponsors who spend the day together in the sun celebrating the unity brought to town by the Riverwalk.

Even with a plethora of vendors and tables to explore, volunteers help provide the lifeblood of the festival, according to Ms. Dorey. With over 100 volunteer spots for anyone aged 13 years old or older, she says the fun can be spread out throughout the day. Volunteers also get a sandwich voucher for the day of the event from Mr. BBQ. To sign up for a volunteer role, visit http://signup.com/go/riverwalkfestival2019.

“It’s great for teens that need volunteer hours and we have spots for earlybirds, midday and night owls. Most spots are 4-hours, but some are team based like guest bartending in the beer garden [which] is only an hour. Those teams get to collect tips for the nonprofit cause of their choice,” she said.

The Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival begins at 9 a.m. with kids’ activities, tables to explore and a car show by the Southern Delaware Hot Rod Association. The beer garden will open later in the afternoon with fireworks wrapping up the evening from Bicentennial Park.

“The Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival, being Milford’s largest annual outdoor event, is important in many ways.  As the greater Milford’s largest business supported organization, the RWFF provides a wonderful opportunity for businesses and organizations to showcase their services to thousands of people attending the festival,” Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford Executive Director Jo Schmeiser said. “In addition, there’s something for everyone at the RWFF, so it’s a great place to bring the family, friends and colleagues, as well as inviting tourists to come to Milford to see what types of businesses and services and tourism destinations are available in and around town, including the beautiful Riverwalk and Bicentennial Park. Basically, the Riverwalk ‘Freedom’ Festival helps the economy while allowing people to enjoy all day events from 9:00 am to almost midnight, including Milford’s only annual fireworks display.”

New this year is a collaborative event with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Light the Night, in hopes of raising funds for and awareness of the organization. Light the Night will take place from 5-9 p.m. in Bicentennial Park after the traditional Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival activities close for the afternoon.

Light the Night participants, beginning in the park, will walk with colored lanterns depending on their affiliation with leukemia and lymphoma. Survivors will carry white lanterns, supporters will carry red lanterns and those walking in memory of a loved one will carry gold-colored lanterns, according to the website.

“Each year, for the last five or so years, the chamber has connected with a cancer related non-profit to help them raise awareness and provide a lot of exposure for their organization. When the folks at Milford’s Relay for Life told us they were not having that event this year, since we have held our Stomp Out Cancer 5K in conjunction with that event, we needed to go to Plan B. Not long after we had a meeting with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and they told me one of their goals is to get more awareness of their organization in Kent County, and especially in Sussex County,” Ms. Schmeiser said.

“Incorporating the Light the Night event into the other RWFF events is a great way for the chamber to support another local non-profit member, which the CCGM is very passionate about doing.  Each year the chamber donates about $14,000 back to local non-profits through our events.  As a non-profit ourselves, running only on membership investments and events, it’s wonderful that (unlike most chambers of commerce) our chamber gives back to other non-profit organizations,” she continued.

Registrations or donations can be submitted online at www.lightthenight.org/events/milford.

More information about the Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival can be found online at www.facebook.com/RiverwalkFreedomFestival/.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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