Milford celebrates hometown spirit in 70th annual parade

MILFORD – Despite a heat index in the triple digits Monday, participants and visitors alike came out in droves to kick off the unofficial last weekend of summer and watch Milford’s 70th annual Labor Day Parade.

Firefighters, Girl Scouts, football players, dogs, clowns, a “king of recycling” and everything in between marched through the streets of downtown Milford, starting at the high school, moving down Elm Street, winding around the oval and ending at the Boys & Girls Club.

An annual tradition for the better part of a century, the town honored its roots with a theme of “Our Hometown.”

The grand marshal was Polly Cote, a sixth-generation resident who has written books on Milford history.

Mike and Kelsey Ellis watched the parade with their young children, waving at the fire trucks and collecting the candy tossed their way. They try to come to the parade every year, they said. It is a good length, they agreed, has representation from the New Hampshire political parties but maintains a “small-town feel.”

Kelsey Ellis said she loves The Milford Oval – that there is a place to gather as a community and support local businesses.

Her husband agreed, adding, “and we have a community that lives up to that,” calling Milford a “tight community.”

Kathy LoCicero Vanaria had not been to the Labor Day parade for more than 50 years, but it still feels like it did when she was a little kid, she said, just a little longer now.

Now living in Sicily, Italy, she came back to Milford to help sell her father’s house after his passing five months ago. While the reason for her visit was not a happy one, Vanaria said she was impressed with the parade for a number of reasons, including the attendance, the enthusiasm from participants in uniforms despite the heat and the variety included in the line up.

“It gives people something to do on a holiday weekend,” she said, looking around and noting there were a lot of memories for her in the small town.

Even after years living abroad, she said, “Milford still feels like home.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or