Local businesses step up to keep parade going

Independence Day in Milford, Michigan will be celebrated with a parade again this year, on the 4th of July. Lots of people just take for granted that the parades, festivals and other events in Milford will go on, not realizing how much work goes on behind the scenes to organize the parade or that there is considerable expense involved. All of the parades that take place in Milford are put on by organizations that are generally non-profit, mostly volunteer groups.

The three major parades are put on by the American Legion (the Memorial Day parade), the Milford Historical Society (the Independence Day parade) and the Chamber of Commerce (the Christmas parade). The smaller parades are conducted by groups like the local Little League(the parade of little league teams down Main Street) and Milford High School (the Homecoming parade). Then there are the events that close some Milford streets, like the upcoming Summer Palooza, the Farmers Market, the Milford Memories Festival and others.

For most of these events the Village of Milford supplies Department of Public Works (DPW) and Police support. The DWP workers put up the detour signs and place the traffic barriers (and later remove them), as well as doing some extra clean-up after events. The Village Police provide traffic and crowd control as needed. Some of the events, like the Memorial Day and Independence Day parades take place on official holidays; so, those workers get overtime to work on those events.

The Village of Milford used to provide the DPW and Police support without charging the event organizers. These are community events that are put on for the citizens to enjoy, so paying for them out of tax dollars made sense when times were good and money was available. The Village’s tax base dramatically shrank in the recent “Great Recession”, so two years ago the Village Council voted to restrict the Village’s “in-kind” contribution to these events to the first $500 of cost. They cost much more than that; especially since the union contracts that both groups work under give them double time for working on holidays.

So, each group that runs these events has had to turn to soliciting financial help through sponsorships from the local community and business groups and from the citizenry. I’m happy to report that in the case of the Independence Day parade there has been great response and the parade will go on. Major contributions were made by Milford Township and the Feldman Automotive Group (Liberty Chevrolet, Liberty Hyundai and Jay Chevrolet in our area). Key Sponsorship contributors include Hines Park Ford, Lafontaine Cadillac/Buick/GMC and Veterinary Care Specialists and VCS Pet Hospital. Sponsors include The Milford Laundry and The Digital Document Store in Milford. Several individuals also sent in contributions to support the parade.

So the Independence Day Parade will go on for another year and this year it is actually on the 4th of July.I hope to see you there. Please thank and support or sponsors if you get the chance.

Also, let the Milford Village Council know that you support these events. There has recently been a proposal by some on the Village Council to stop all in-kind support for future events. I believe that these events area big part of what makes Milford the great place to live that we all love. Let your voice be heard. Email a Village Council member and tell them that you want them to continue supporting our parades and festivals and other events. Click here for a link to the Village Council page on the Village of Milford Web site.

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