One of the biggest annual community events in the state will be celebrating a milestone when this year’s Milford Memories Summer Festival starts on Friday, Aug. 10.
This year’s Milford Memories, which runs Friday through Sunday, Aug. 12, marks the 21st year of the festival, which brings a wide range of activities, artists, food and entertainment to downtown Milford.
The festival is organized and run by the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce and its volunteer committee.
For over two decades, the festival has grown into an event that has become one of the biggest attractions in the county and the state.
The first festival was held in August 1992 and centered around a play called “Milford Memories,” which was based on a book entitled “Ten Minutes Ahead of the Rest of the World” that told the story of Milford’s founding fathers, who first settled the area back in 1832.
Joell Beether of the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce, who has managed the event since 2003, said that the festival’s original organizers wanted to do a community event that was more community driven and celebrated Milford’s history.
It started growing on its own once the community got a hold of it.
The play continued to be performed over the years, but was last performed at the festival a few years ago, Beether said.
Last year’s Milford Memories festival was a success, Beether said, despite a bad storm that rolled through and soaked some of the patrons.
Nevertheless, she and other organizers are looking forward to another exciting edition of Milford Memories this year that will include a variety of food, live music, a beer tent and artists from across the state and even the country.
In addition to the festival’s traditions, such as the Civil War Encampment and the Cold Butt Euchre Tournament, there will also be new attractions, including a 3-on-3 basketball tournament
Activities For One And All
There will be a wide range of activities offered in the village’s downtown area during Milford Memories for both children and adults.
One of the main attractions will be the Civil War Encampment in Central Park, sponsored by the General Motors Proving Ground, that will take place all three days of the festival, from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The encampment is made up of participants who recreate a Civil War soldier’s camp. Visitors can learn about a soldier’s daily chores, military drills and other historical aspects of the Civil War era.
On Saturday, there will be an infantry drill at 11 a.m. followed by a children’s drill at 11:20 a.m., with registration for the children’s drill on Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 to 11:20 a.m.
The highlight of the encampment will be the reenactment of Civil War skirmishes beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1:15 p.m. on Sunday.
There will also canon firings on Saturday 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., and on Sunday at noon and 3 p.m.
Another highlight will be a special veterans memorial ceremony that will be held on Sunday at 11 a.m. in Central Park.
Other encampment activities scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday include a Civil War fashion show at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, weather permitting, along with musical performances by Thru the Myst beginning at 10 a.m. on both days, and ongoing medical demonstrations by surgeon J.T. Hatfield at the surgeon’s tent.
A new addition to Milford Memories is the 3-on-3 basketball tournament for children and teenagers that will take place from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Central Park basketball courts.
Teams will be composed of a minimum of four players with groups for boys and girls separated by different ages and grades from a fourth- and fifth-grade group to a 12th-grade and 2012 graduate group.
Any mixed gender team will automatically play in the boys division for the appropriate age group.
The event is sponsored by the Oak Pointe Church and the cost is $60 per team — $15 per person for a team of 4 or $12 each for a team of 5.
The registration deadline for the tournament is 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7. Interested teams can sign up by going online to www.milfordtournaments.com, by picking up registration forms at the Oak Pointe Church, or the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce office.
A long-time Milford Memories tradition is the Cold Butt Euchre Tournament that will take place on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. during which participants play euchre while sitting on blocks of ice. Registration for the tournament is at 11:30 a.m. with limited space.
The first-place team will win $100. Registration is $25 per team in advance and $30 per team the day of the event.
The annual Blind Canoe Race is scheduled for Sunday at 12:30 p.m., where teams of three race with two paddlers blind-folded. Registration is at 11:30 a.m. Children under 14-years-old must have a parent’s consent and an adult in the canoe, while participants ages 14 to 17 must have a parent’s consent.
Registration is $15 per canoe in advance and $20 per canoe the day of the event.
Another attraction returning is a 25-foot rock climbing wall that will be located in the Colonial Motors parking lot and will be operated by Oakland County Parks and Recreation. The wall will be up and running on Friday from 2 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
George Tate — known as “The Living Statute” who is sure to draw a crowd — will also be on hand from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Children and adults interested in participating together in athletic activities can participate in the annual 1-mile Fun Run, and the 5K run and 10K run on Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., respectively.
Registration for the 5K and 10K runs is $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event, while the 1-mile run fee is $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event.
The races will begin and finish at Central Park, with the 1-mile run turning around at Peters Road, the 5K race turning around just past the YMCA on the Milford Recreational Trail, and the 10K race turning around on the Milford Recreational Trail near General Motors Road.
Awards will be given for the top three overall males and overall females in the 5K and 10K events, as well as awards for the top three in each age group, ranging from 10-years-old and under to 70-years-old and over.
Meanwhile, there will also be plenty of activities for children at Kid Central, including a Kids Central Activity Tent that will be available all three days of the festival at Central Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In the tent, children can participate in arts and crafts activities, including beading, painting, tattoos, paper, fabric, glitter, glue, foam and sparkles.
A fishing tournament will also be held on Saturday in Central Park on the banks of the Huron River at 9:30 a.m., with registration at 9 a.m. Equipment will be provided by the Proud Lake Recreation Area and the winner will be determined based on the number of fish caught, not the total weight.
An ice cream eating contest will also be held on Friday at 2 p.m. in Central Park.
Applications for children’s events can be downloaded online at the Milford Memories website at milfordmemories.com.
The Milford Fire Department will also be on hand with its Fire House for Children on Saturday and Sunday in Central Park along the riverfront.
During the Civil War Encampment, children can participate in a muster drill on Saturday from 11:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Children can be registered from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, or Saturday from 9 to 11:20 a.m.
Also appearing on the Veterans Memorial Stage will be The Mister Lawrence Experience, a group specializing in children’s songs, music videos and television.
Plenty Of Food To Enjoy All Weekend
Another attraction of Milford Memories is the variety of food available, whether it’s from local restaurants or the vendors on hand.
Gravity Bar and Grill will not only be providing a food tent, but also live music on Friday and Saturday.
The Aaron Vaughn Band will perform both Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m., while Beth Stalker will play Friday at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, Main Street Grill will have The Icemen playing both Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The official Milford Memories Beer Tent will also be open to families from noon to 5 p.m. all three days before changing its admittance to patrons 21-years-old and over after 6 p.m. with a $4 admission.
Other restaurants that will have food tents at Milford Memories include Cinco Lagos, Lei Ting, Village Butcher, Coratti’s on Main, The Health Mart, The Burger Joint, Jet’s Pizza, and Tequilaritas.
The Village Butcher will also be hosting a pancake breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Liberty and Union across from the Fifth-Third Bank, with a $5 cost for adults and a $4 cost for children ages 5 to 16 and seniors ages 65 and over.
Numerous vendors will also be on hand for the festival, including Asian Grill & Rice, Baja Smoothies, Bavarian Roasted Almonds & Kettle Corn and CIA (Cheesesteak Institute of America).
Also participating will be Fudge by Design, Giuseppe’s Italian Ice, Ice Cream Express, J & J Concessions, Jumpin’ Kernels and Metro Beverage Company.
Also on hand will be the Milford United Methodist Church Men’s Club, Red Wood Grill Catering, Terry’s Tastee Treats and the Milford Farmers’ Market.
Other vendors interested in participating can visit milfordmemories.com and click on the “Food” tab to download a concession application or call 248-685-7129 and dial extension 104 to speak with Food Chairperson Laura Bolyard.
Art On Display From Near And Far
Arts and crafts displays have been a mainstay since Milford Memories’ inception, but the number has doubled in size since the first edition of the festival that has recently drawn close to 300 artists who attend and showcase their works.
The art displays will be open at the festival from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Applications for artists interested in displaying their works are still being accepted and applications can be downloaded at milfordmemories.com by clicking on the “Artist” tab.
From there, artists can download an application or apply online.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from artists this year,” Beether said.
The artists are organized and chosen by Dianne Quinn and her daughter Raychel Rork, who run the Art in the Park festival in Plymouth every July and have been a part of Milford Memories since the beginning.
Both Quinn and Rork have said that Milford Memories features a juried art fair where people apply, give a description of what they make, and then send them photographs of their artwork and displays.
They added that they look for quality, uniqueness and, in other words, something that’s hand-made and is different.
Rork also said that people will be attending an arts and crafts show that will not only include fine art, but also jewelry, clothing, products and food.
For more information about artists who will be on hand or information on how to apply, call Art in the Park at 734-454-1314 or e-mail Quinn and Rork at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will also be over 20 musical acts performing throughout the weekend, playing diverse styles of music in the downtown Milford festival area.
The Center Street Gazebo will host eight acts, beginning on Friday with Kelly and Kish at 11 a.m., the Bugar Brothers at 2 p.m., and Robin Horlock at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, Blaise Gander will play at 11 a.m., followed by The Tracy Thomas Quartet at 2 p.m. and Jeff Yantz at 5 p.m.
Sunday will feature Gary Weisenburg at 11 a.m. and Tim Twist at 2 p.m.
The Central Park Veterans Memorial Stage will host nine acts, beginning on Friday with the Milford Music Kids Groups at 10 a.m., THUMMp at 3 p.m. and Pato Margetic at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, Gemini will perform at 10 a.m., followed by Suzanne’s Main Street Dance at 1 p.m., Blue Effect at 2 p.m., and Nathan Schock at 5 p.m.
On Sunday, the Susie Woodman Jazz Band will play at 12:30 p.m., followed by Monsieur Guillaume & His Zydeco Hepcats at 3 p.m.
The Central Park Beer Tent will host five acts during the festival.
On Friday, the Randy Brock Band will perform from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by Superball at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Mr. Moody will play beginning at noon, followed by Wheelhouse at 7 p.m.
For a complete schedule, visit milfordmemories.com and click on the “Musical Entertainment” tab.
The Logistics For The Weekend Festival
Bike medics and first aid will be on hand at the festival for those in need, courtesy of Huron Valley Ambulance, while first aid will be available during the entire festival on Main Street between Liberty and Commerce.
The LaFontaine Automotive Group will also be providing $5 parking and shuttle service to the festival based at Holden’s Party Store on South Milford Road and at Huron Valley Milford High School beginning at 9 a.m. all three days and ending at 9 p.m. on Friday, 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Proceeds benefit the Huron Valley Lakeland High School senior class and the Huron Valley Milford football team.
There is also free parking located behind the Wendy’s fast food restaurant off of Milford Road in the former Farmer Jack parking lot. This lot has free parking, but there is no shuttle service to and from this lot. Parking is first come, first serve and is within a half-mile of the festival grounds.
Milford Memories will also be selling bottled water at $2 a bottle at its information booths, with all the proceeds going toward Team Huron Valley Special Olympics and the Huron Valley Council for the Arts.
M.J. Whelan Construction will also provide free shuttle service for seniors from three locations: the M.J. Whelan construction office at the north end of the festival grounds near Summit; at Main and East Liberty near the LaFontaine booth; and near the street corner of Huron and Main.
For more information about the festival, call 248-685-7129 or visit milfordmemories.com.