Milford Wine Trail returns to downtown area

Milford Wine Trail

Milford Wine Trail

Downtown Milford Business Alliance /Contributed

MILFORD — A popular event to raise funds for local charities is back this month.

The 12th annual Wine Trail, hosted by the Downtown Milford Business Association (DMBA), is coming back to downtown Milford on Oct. 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 and the proceeds are a direct donation to The United Way of Milford.

Gary Johnson, United Way of Milford president, said the fundraiser will help 21 local agencies under the United Way of Milford umbrella.

“Examples of help that will be given are scholarships to allow parents in need to send children to preschool, counseling at Bridges for people with mental health and substance abuse issues, assistance at the Milford Senior Center to help individuals with cognitive disabilities, help for Milford citizens struggling to pay their rent, utilities, food and other emergency needs,” Johnson said.

“The DMBA does an amazing job at raising funds for charities,” said Kristina Foreman, owner of MakeupMakeup. “United Way helps a lot of families. This helps them to provide food, electricity and diapers. It’s really amazing how much they help people.”

Johnson added that fundraisers, like the Wine Trail, are critical to the revenue stream as large employers and their employees are struggling themselves due to the pandemic.

“The people who are struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month, those we call ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) are the individuals working two or three jobs to try to meet their monthly expenses,” he said. “These are folks that we are helping and the Wine Trail event will allow United Way to keep on helping.”

DMBA said after purchasing tickets in advance, attendees begin the trail at the DMBA booth located in front of the Talor Building, 5 Broad St.

“Wine Trail is one of our most popular events, simply because it’s fun,” said Tracy Bonosconi, DMBA president. “All our participating businesses look forward to this event and meeting new faces. It brings friends together, showcases the downtown business and helps local Milford families in need. What’s not to love?”

Attendees will receive a glass of wine, and a map of Wine Trail stops.

“We try to participate in all events that take place in Milford, especially when it’s for a good cause to help families in need,” said Denisse Morales from Inside Living Style. “It also helps support downtown businesses.”

Morales said this was their second time participating in the event.

“We are very excited about this event,” she said. “It’s so much fun seeing the participants enjoy themselves in a friendly and safe manner.”

Foreman said they have participated in every single Wine Trail.

“It’s one of the largest events and one of the most fun events that they have every year,” she said. “I choose to participate every time because it brings people from not just Milford, but it brings people from other towns to downtown and into my store that normally would not know that I am there. It’s exposure to all the mom and pop stores, and it’s a great way to get to know the community on a personal level.”

Ryan McConnel, owner of Cafe Atlantique, and one of the businesses participating in the Wine Trail, said this would be the first time Cafe Atlantique would participate, but, as an owner, it’s not his first time participating.

“I also own Hawkwood Game Cafe, which is also on The Green, and we’ve done the Wine Trail at Hawkwood a few times in the past, and we thoroughly enjoyed it, and it is great exposure for our business,” he said. “So I liked it over there, and this is our first year as owners of Cafe Atlantique with the Wine Trail happening, and it was an easy yes for me.”

Bridget Connors said Cafe Atlantique has been a staple of Milford for as long as she can remember and has always been excited to participate in local events.

“We are so excited,” she said. “We had a great turnout for Restaurant Week, so we are really excited to get back into an event.”

Ryan said he’s excited about the Wine Trail event because it is always a great night.

“The general tone of the whole evening is really happy and really fun,” he said. “It’s been smoothly run in the past, so as a business owner, I don’t have a lot of stress attached to it. It’s just a great fun, extra thing to do without a lot of extra work on my end to make it happen, which is what every small business owner dreams of.”

Other participating locations in the Wine Trial include Arciulo’s, Inside Living Style, Love Shop, The Milford Arts Council, Milford Bank, Milford Pharmacy, Scratch Baking, Sophie Claire’s, Sunspray Tans, SV Decker, Vincent’s Jewelers and Whispers. Participating restaurants include Archie Moore’s, Bin 100, Colony Pizza, Dockside, Eli’s Tavern, Founder’s House, Good Morning Cupcake, Liquid Micalizzi’s, Nates Plates and Strega.