The Fourth of July Parade in Mayberry

July 4, 2017

Many people like to think of Milford, Michigan as a modern-day version of the fictional town of Mayberry that was the setting for the Andy Griffith Show Mayberry RFD. There are some seminaries. Milford is a small town in a somewhat rural setting. We have a basically a two block long downtown, with a light at each end (which Mayberry didn’t have). We have quaint little stores and a barber shop in the middle of the downtown. But there the similarities probably end. We have a vibrant set of restaurants within the downtown area, as well as three jewelry stores, an exercise place, a bridal boutique and a women’s store that is known state wide for its “social ware” (think weddings and special occasions requiring a gown and not just a dress).

But getting back to the Mayberry theme, we do have several parades a year, starting with the big Memorial Day Parade, which is one of the biggest and best in Southeastern Michigan for honoring our veterans, and then the Independence Day Parade, which was today and ending the year with the Christmas Parade, which takes place on Thanksgiving weekend. Interspersed before, after and in between are a bunch of minor parades – the Martin Luther King Parade in January, the Little League Parade down Main Street at the start of the baseball season, the Homecoming Parade for the local High School are three that come to mind. There are several other occasions that close down main street; an event that seems to average about one closure per month. That’s small-town America at its finest.

start of paradeSo today we had the Fourth of July Parade. Well over a thousand local people lined Main Street, many staking out their favorite spot by leaving blankets and/or chairs on the sidewalk on main street as early as the night before the parade. The parade didn’t start until 11 AM, but there were people out before 10 AM. Some came much earlier and had breakfast in one of our downtown restaurants before claiming their spot for the parade.  The local AmVets group walked up and down the parade route handing out small American flags, so that the kids and their parents had something patriotic to wave as the parade passed by them. An entrepreneur also walked up and down selling cotton candy to excited kids who awaited the start of the parade. How Mayberry-like is all of that?

The parade stepped off precisely at 11 Am with the Village Police Chief leading the parade. I can just imagine Sheriff Taylor doing the same in his police car in Mayberry. Then came the procession of walking groups, homemade floats, decorated vehicles and Rotary Duck Race kidsbicycles and the horses. This year we had the Huron-Kensington Metroparks 6-horse Clydesdale wagon in our parade, which is like the Budweiser Clydesdales that we see on TV coming to Mayberry. We also had horses from the Cowboy Church of Michigan and from the local Kensington Trail Riders organization.

Of course we also had politics in the parade, with many local politicians marching to remind their constituents to vote for them in the next election for whatever elected position for which they might be running. And this year, we had the pro- and anti-Trump groups, which is something in national and local politics that would have been out of Bridge to Unity floatplace in Mayberry and perhaps was a little too political even for a Milford parade. But we got through it without incident. We also had a fly-over with a single plane from the Tuskegee Air Museum making several passes over the parade route. It was an old T-6 Trainor from WWII, which might have been a modern plane back in the time depicted on TV in Mayberry.

All–in-all, it was a great parade in small town America and the absolute best way for those who came to view it to pause and celebrate this great country. Where else but America could you go see such a parade that is set in, and filled with the small town values of, Mayberry.  Maybe you had a parade like ours, too, in your little piece of Mayberry.


Have we become too busy to celebrate?

June 27, 2017

I’m co-chair of the Independence Day Parade for the area in which I live. The parade, which is held on the 4th of July every year, is slowly dying out as fewer and fewer local businesses and organizations sign up to be in the parade and thus fewer parade paradewatchers come out to see it. The parade, which used to attract up to 100 entries every year is down to less than half of that number and continuing to shrink.

There are many contributing factors to the loss of interest in the 4th of July parade, not the least of which is the fact that it occurs during the height of the summer vacation season. In our area, we have a really big and wonderful Memorial Day parade to honor veterans and those serving now, which siphons off some of the potential participants for the Independence Day parade. We used to get 5-10 scout troops – Cub Scouts and Brownies in particular – in the parade and now none show up.  I’m sure economics play some role, too. This year many local cities and townships canceled their 4th of July fireworks because of budget issues. Having said all of that, I think another big reason is that many think they are too busy to take the time to march in or go see a parade.

That thought brought to mind this quote by Socrates – “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” I think Socrates was trying to warn us about becoming too busy to appreciate and savor life. I’ve posted here before about the dangers of becoming so focused upon nap at worksuccess in a career that one loses sight of why they are working in the first place – they lose touch with the family that they point to as the reason for their hard work They become so busy that their life and that of those they love becomes barren.

Next week we have the one opportunity that we get a year to stop our busy-work and take a moment to contemplate the birth of the greatest nation on earth, yet most are too busy to get into the parade that celebrates that event or to come watch it. Maybe it’s time to stop for a moment and consider what you are doing with the prime of the only life that you get. Are you too busy for family and friend? Are you constantly working and not taking any time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor? Are you perhaps confusing being busy with being productive or even withwomen looking at watch being happy? Is your busy life really fulfilling or has being busy all the time left it barren?

It is ironic somehow that the only two times in our lives that we seem to take the time to enjoy it are at the two ends of it. When we are children we are blissfully ignorant of the need to be busy all the time, although we seem to be most of the time. When we are elderly, we may finally get the time to slow down and enjoy life without the need to be busy. But, oh boy; in between those two ages, we seem to be heads down busy all the time. I’ve already posted here about the opportunity to take time for God at church having been preempted by sports – see What happened to Sundays? We’ve become a society that is too busy to stop and devote a couple of hours to church, when there are ball games and soccer matches and hockey games to be played.

wonderingThere is only one solution to this problem and that is to just say no to the next busy thing that is demanding your time and instead take the time to go to church or to march in or watch the parade or to do the other things that aren’t on a To-Do list. Slow down, catch your breath, take time to think about and appreciate the things and people that are around you. You need not be busy 24/7. Life is not about being busy all the time.  While most of you may not even know who he was, this quote by Eddie Cantor seems an appropriate way to end this post  – “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

Come out and see our parade on the 4th of July; or, even better, be in it.


4th of July Parade Seeks Sponsors and Participants

June 14, 2017

I realize that many of the followers of this blog are not local to Milford, Michigan or even in this country; however, many are, so I wanted to publish this press release about our upcoming Independence Day Parade.

The Milford Historical Society is seeking both sponsors and participants for the 2017 Huron Valley Independence Day Parade (the 4th of July Parade) in downtown Milford. Norm Werner, co-chairman of the 4th of July Parade Committee said, “We want to do things to improve the parade and those things generally cost money. Just to do a flyover with a few planes can cost up to $1,000. Other things that could be added also come at a cost, also. We are seeking contributions from local businesses to help off-set those costs.”

The Independence Day Parade is organized and run by the Milford Historical Society, which is a 501c3 Non-Profit located in Milford. The Milford Historical Society runs the Milford Historical Museum in Milford and hosts several events during the year, including the Granny’s Attic Sale and the Milford Home tour, in addition to the parade.

Werner also said, “We are also looking for more participants this year and encourage local business and organizations to get into the parade lineup. Groups may march in the parade or have a vehicle or a float, or do all three. It’s a great way to promote your business or organization and to say thank you to the community for their support. We especially would like to get boy and girl scout troops back into the parade, as well as Brownies and Cub Scouts. Any bands or group from bands would also be great to have.” This year Kensington Metropark will have their team of Clydesdales pulling their big wagon in the parade.

The parade is held on the 4th of July, which hits on a Tuesday this year. The parade lineup starts at 10 AM and the parade steps off at 11 AM. The parade will line up again this year on N. Main/N. Milford Road north of Commerce and on Union and Hickory Streets. Once you have registered to be in the parade you will be assigned a parade slot and be given a map to your lineup location. “We hope to have more participation by military and patriotic groups this year”, Werner said. “We’re also in need of volunteers to help with running he parade by being street guards or directing the parade participants.”

For information about the parade and to download a Parade Participant application and parade rules, visit the web site Milfordhistory.org. Companies or organizations wishing to help sponsor the parade will also find a Parade Sponsor form at that web site or they may call Norm Werner at 248-763-2497 or Rich Harrison at 248-935-5556. Volunteers for the parade should call either Norm or Rich.


Chamber Easter Egg Hunt

April 8, 2017

This morning at the Duck Lake Pines Park (baseball fields) at 10 AM the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Bunny isEaster Bunny scheduled to arrive at the park at 10 AM to greet the kids and take pictures with them. There will be face painting and other activities, too.

The actual ester egg hunt will kick off at 11 AM with children separated into three age groups – 2-4 years old, 5-7 years old and 8-10 years old.  Each group will hunt separately on their own baseball field. The schedule is 2-4 at 11:00 AM, 5-7 at 11:10 and 8-10 at 11:20. Come out and enjoy the fun.

Bring your camera to get a picture of you child with the Easter Bunny. The event is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union and  Hines Park Ford. The weather is supposed to be great, so bring the kids out to hunt for eggs and to meet the Easter Bunny.


Milford Home Tour heads up fun Milford Weekend events.

September 17, 2016

The 40th annual Milford Home Tour headlines a family fun weekend of events in Milford, Michigan, this weekend of September 17 & 18. The Home Tour, which is put on by the Milford Historical Society, features docent-led tours of five of Milford’s historic homes, 624-n-main-stwith two this year that have never been on the Home Tour before. Several homes will also feature entertainment by various individuals and groups. Proceeds from the Milford Home Tour go to support the operation of the Milford Historical Museum.

Also on the Home Tour itinerary is the Log Cabin on GM Road, next to the fire station, and the Milford Historical Museum at 124 E. Commerce Rd, just one block from downtown Milford. The Museum will feature a special Home Tour display of “Ladies’ Handiwork”, including a lace making demonstration. The Log Cabin will have games and home crafts from the late 1800’s for the kids and whole family.

The Home Tour starts at 11 AM each day running until 5 PM both days. Tickets may be 957-s-main-stpurchased at several downtown Milford locations prior to Saturday – Acorn Farm, Main Street Art, Your Nesting Place and the Milford Historical Museum – or at the homes that are on the tour either day of the tour.  Tickets are $15 for Adults and $13 for seniors. This year’s homes are located at 624 N. Main St, 324 S. Main St, 104 Second Street, 957 S. Main St and 1018 Atlantic St. For more on the houses that are on this year’s Home Tour go to the web site www.milfordhistory.org and click on the Home Tour Poster.

Saturday night will feature a special end-of-season concert called CURRENTS, an evening metal rockerof indie rock at the new LaFontaine Family Amphitheater, from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19. Presented by Huron Valley State Bank and the Milford Downtown Development Authority, the concert is curated by Milford’s own Sean Lynch and will showcase three local and regional bands in one night, including hometown band 800Beloved, Grand Rapids-based Dear Tracks and Detroit’s Missionary. The concert is free to the public and will feature all original music. The LaFontaine Family Amphitheater is located in downtown Milford’s Central Park.

crusin-news-adOn Sunday, September 18, downtown Milford will be turned into a giant parking lot for the 32 annual Milford Car Show – the largest area car show of the year. Cars of all ages and type will be on display with show attendees getting to vote for their favorite cars in several categories from vintage streets rods to modern muscle cars. Over 250 cars are expected for the Milford Car Show which will open to the public at about 10 AM. Cars start showing up much earlier than that ad line up from Main and Commerce Streets all the way down to Central Park. For more on the Car show, go to www.milfordcarshow.com

There is also a Tractor Show on Sunday starting at 11 AM out at the Huron Valley State Bank tractorparking lot at the corner of GM Road and Milford Road. Tractors of all sorts show up for this annual event; from working farm tractors to lawn tractors. There have even been a few steam engine tractors in the past.

So come out to Milford for the weekend on September 17 & 18 and enjoy the historic homes, an indie rock concert, the classic cars and the tractors. Stay and enjoy the many fine restaurants that are to be found in Milford. On Saturday you can also enjoy the great local shops in the downtown area and be sure to stop by the Milford Historical Museum for the lace making display and demonstrations.

We’ll see you in Milford this weekend.


4th of July Parade in Milford

June 30, 2016

The annual Independence Day Parade (4th of July Parade), presented by the Milford Historical Society,  actually takes place on the Monday, the 4th of July, this year; however, it will not take place using the usual parade route.

Due to delays in the road construction project on E. Commerce Road, the Milford Public Safety officials have decided that it would d be unsafe to use E. Commerce Rd as part of the parade route; therefore the parade will start at the corner of N. Main Street and E. Commerce Road. People desiring to view the parade should not set up their chairs along E. Commerce Rd in front of  the Milford Historical Museum. The parade can only be viewed from Main Street this year. The parade will still proceed all the way down Main Street to the corner of Main and Huron Streets.

The change in parade route has also necessitated a last minute change in the parade line-up locations. The parade participants will line up on N. Main Street, N. Milford Road, Detroit Street and Union Street, north of Detroit St. If you are a parade participant you can find your parade slot by clicking here to see the line-up map. All parade entrants should plan to enter the line-up streets from Summit St. There will be street guards at the north end of the line-up streets to give people more information about their parade line-up slot. The parade steps off at 11 AM, but line-up for the parade starts at 10 AM. Due to all of the road construction and detours, parade participants should allow extra time to get to their line-up positions.

If you have questions about the parade roue or your line-up slot and location, call parade co-chairs Norm Werner at 248-763-2497 or Rich Harrison at 248-935-5556.

RotaryDucksFollowing the parade the Huron Valley Rotary Club will be hosting family fun activities in Central Park leading up to their annual Duck Race, which will be at 3 PM. Plan on spending the day in Milford.


July 4th – Parades, Ducks and Fireworks

May 24, 2016

The 4th of July may seem to be a long way off, but it will be here sooner that you think. Independence Day in the Milford area is always special. One of the three major parades of the year in Milford takes place on that day ( the other two are the Memorial Day Parade and the Christmas Parade). The Independence Day Parade is put on by the Milford Historical Society, which also runs the Milford Historical Museum in Downtown Milford.

RotaryDucksThis year the 4th of July Parade will have a special twist, with the addition of the Huron Valley Rotary Club’s annual Duck Race in Central Park. Here is their Press Release –

Huron Valley Rotary Club (formerly Milford Rotary Club) will be celebrating their annual duck race fundraiser this year on the 4th of July this year following the Parade in Beautiful Downtown Milford.  Designed to be a family fun event right after the parade and held in Central Park, there will be food, games, displays, music and fantastic prizes for the famous Duck Race which will be held at 3 PM.

This year count on games designed to engage the entire family so they can remain downtown Milford after the parade and enjoy the day with family and friends.

One of the Rotary Clubs major fundraisers, proceeds help us to do work with local nonprofits in our community as well as provide scholarships for high school seniors at both Milford and Lakeland High School. Duck tickets can be purchased from any Rotarian, Huron Valley State Bank, and the Carls Family YMCA.  Several other non-profit organizations are also joining in selling ducks and will earn a percent of the proceeds of the tickets they sell. Be sure to go to our website http://www.huronvalleyrotary.com or follow us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DuckRaceFestival/ .

For additional information, please contact Sharon Peterson at sjpeterson@ymcadetroit.org.

The Rotarians have this wonderful family event planned to follow the parade, with food and games and things to do for the whole family – all leading up to the excitement of the annual Duck Race down Pettibone Creek in Central Park. The excitement of thousands of little yellow rubber ducks furiously paddling down the creek to try to be first to the river is not to be missed, not to mention the thrill of having the winning duck which pays the owner an amount yet to be determined; but which has paid as much as $2,000 to the winner in the past.

The theme of this year’s Independence Day Parade is “Celebrating our Freedoms” and all paradelocal organizations are encouraged to enter a float or walking group in the parade. The parade is on the 4th of July and steps off at 11:00 AM, with line-up starting at 10:15 AM. Participants line up on Union, Hickory and East Streets. Groups may obtain the Parade Registration form from the  Milford Historical Society web site – www.milfordhistory.org or by emailing parade co-chairs Rich Harrison or Norm Werner.

There are many area fireworks shows during the 4th of July Weekend, with events at Kensington Metropark and Camp Dearborn being the closest.

So plan on spending much of the 4th of July in Milford at the parade and the Duck Race festivities to follow.