Lamplight Stroll returns to Milford

File photo of the Lamplight Stroll in Milford. Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register 12/08/12

File photo of the Lamplight Stroll in Milford. Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register 12/08/12

Mara Lavitt /New Haven Register

MILFORD — The Downtown Milford Business Alliance is excited to have the Lamplight Stroll again after not being able to organize it last year.

This is the event’s 19th year since it didn’t happen last year.

“We are really excited because it is a beloved New England tradition,” said Makayla Silva, executive director for the DMBA. “We just love to have the stroll with the horse-drawn carriage rides, with moving carolers that move around from store to store.”

The 19th Annual Lamplight Stroll, sponsored by Metro Star, will run from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 3.

The event will feature 22 participating stores that will open their doors for business and have goodies for customers.

“All of the stores open up at night time, which is really nice,” said Silva. “They have Christmas music playing, many of the stores give out cocoa, candy canes or cider to welcome the visitors.”

People can mark their stops at each shop in a passport.

“Visitors will be pick up their lamplight stroll program from the DMBA tent by the Taylor Building, and once they have their programs, they will go store to store and get a stamp,” said Silva. “If they complete their passport, they can drop it off to us, and they will be entered into a grand prize drawing.”

Participating businesses have a space allocated in the passport booklet big enough for a stamp, so people will need to get the stamps from those businesses. Silva said there is no rush to get all the stamps on Friday because people will have the entire weekend to complete the passport.

Completed passports can be dropped off at The Lovet Shop at Harborwalk, 22 S Broad St. #14. They will be accepted from Dec. 6 to Dec. 10.

When the DMBA reached out to the businesses to see if they wanted to participate the answer was a quick yes.

“Most of them had unanimously said this was their favorite event, and they look forward to it every year,” said Silva. “The tree lighting obviously kicks off the holiday season, but really, this kicks off the season downtown because it gets people out and about and it encourages shopping local and shopping small and shopping downtown. Everybody loves this event because it is almost magical. After all, the whole green will be lit up, with Christmas lights, and it’ll be a really good family-friendly event.”

Santa will also be there along with a horse-drawn carriage and moving carolers.

“He’ll be parked at the Milford Bank and will be taking photo opportunities which are great,” she said. “Also, we have about 50 vendors that will be stretched out along the Milford Green. They will bring Christmas lights because obviously, it’s dark, but we are excited about the turnout.”

Silva’s history with the Lamplight stroll goes back to before she was involved with the DMBA.

“My first job ever was working at a chocolate shop downtown, H. Mangels Confectioner, it was right on River Street,” said Silva. “So I was part of the first-ever lamplight stroll working when I was 15. My boss Paul Mangels was one of the founding members of the Downtown Merchants Association, and he, I think, put a group of like-minded store owners together who put their heads together who wanted to bring something downtown to celebrate the holidays.”

Silva said the lamplight stroll wasn’t as big back then because it was only the passport, and the stores opened at night.

“It has really grown over the years to where it is now this big holiday event,” she said. “For me personally, I love all of it, it’s the carolers, the horse-drawn carriages, it’s just so fun, and we really look forward to it. For the businesses, they love to open at night, they love to have it be festive, they love welcoming people into their business, and it gets people into their doors, and that’s what all of our events are really about.”