Milford’s 2019 Kick Off to Summer, featuring fireworks over the harbor, is right around the corner.
This year’s event will be Saturday, June 29, from 4 to 11:30 p.m. along the harbor in downtown Milford. The rain date is July 6.
This marks the fifth annual Kick Off to Summer, and Dan Worroll, event organizer, promises the fireworks, which go off at 9:15 p.m., “will be great.”
There will be about 14 food trucks selling food at Lisman Landing. Wines and More will sell beverages, as will Tribus Beer Co. and Two Roads Brewing Co. Two bands will play: Hit List from 4 to 7 p.m. and RumRunners from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
During the break between bands, Milford Mayor Ben Blake will honor two local youths, Kaliegh Garris, a recent Joseph A. Foran High School graduate who was named Miss Teen USA this year, and Collin Cella, who won the 9- and 10-year-old portion of the Universal Kids Network's American Ninja Warrior Junior competition.
Worroll is expecting a big crowd, about 1,000 in the Lisman Landing area and up to 25,000 in the surrounding downtown.
“All the slips are sold out at the boatyard, and people are already asking when next year’s Kick Off will be,” Worroll said.
Milford’s Kick Off to Summer is a fairly new annual event, but it already rivals the Milford Oyster Festival in terms of popularity.
That assessment came from Ray Swift, director of the city-owned Lisman Landing Marina, when he was speaking at a Board of Aldermen’s meeting earlier this year. The marina, with 40 slips in downtown Milford, draws boaters all season long but at greater numbers when there are events downtown.
“The demand is more than the space available,” said Swift.
Economic Development Director Julie Nash has been working hard to make Milford more of a tourist destination, and she works with Worroll planning the Kick Off to Summer. She said she is happy it has become a signature happening for Milford, like the Annual Milford Oyster Festival.
“We are lucky to have these spectacular bookend [events] for the summer season to entice more and more boaters and visitors to Milford,” Nash said recently.
The event is free to the public: There is no admission charge.
Worroll works with several others to organize the event: Nash, and Dee Diamond, who works in the economic development office, and Recreation Director Paul Piscitelli.
The Kick Off costs about $14,000 to run, and Worroll said funds were slow coming in this year.
“It was a tough year this year,” Worroll said “Everything we do for fireworks is paid for by donations.”
It looked close for a while, and Woroll thanked local businesses and organizations for stepping up: Devon Rotary, Milford Bank, Metro Star, ShopRite, Tribus, Silver Sands Pizza, Clukey Chiropractic, and Wines and More.
“I was hoping we’d have more donations, but we made it,” Worroll said.
There will be no parking in the immediate area, but shuttle buses will be available from Wasson Field, the Milford Senior Center and Harborside Middle School. Boaters will be able to launch their boats at the boat launch behind the library until the fireworks go off.