Millville Centennial kicks off with a parade

Since January, the seven-member Millville Centennial Committee has been planning to celebrate the town’s 100th birthday. And after months of making calls, accepting supporting donations and convincing the appropriate organizations to shut down Route 26 for an hour on an early-summer Saturday, the moment is finally here.

At 1 p.m. tomorrow, the first parade ever to march down Route 26 in Millville will kick off the Centennial Celebration, which will then culminate with a five-hour party.

“I’m very excited,” said Millville Mayor Gary Willey. “I’m very excited about celebrating the 100th anniversary of the town. The weather looks like its going to cooperate,” he added. “It’s going to be fun for the whole family.”

The .5-mile parade, which will march from just east of The Shoppes of Millville and end at the Millville Fire Hall, will sport more than 30 participants and shut down Route 26 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Representative trucks and individuals from the Millville Fire Hall, the Delaware Army National Guard marching band, floats from area organizations and clubs, local and state officials and members of local auto clubs will be among the parade participants.

After the parade, Millville officials will hold a party from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Millville Fire Hall to celebrate the town’s 100th anniversary.

Kids and adults alike will be entertained at the party by bands, clowns and even a local Frank Sinatra singer Lou Vello.

Bird Dog and the Road Kings, a Maryland-based band that is a local favorite, will headline the party. Millville-based Right Hand for Richard will also play, along with the Southern Delaware School of the Arts’ steel-drum band Steel the Show. DJ Don Minyon and Vello will keep the crowd entertained when the bands aren’t performing, as will the refreshments and food, which will be provided by the Millville Fire Hall ladies’ auxiliary.

Entertainment will be abundant tomorrow for the kids, as well. Bubbles the Clown will make an appearance, and there will be stands for face painting. A 51-foot shark slide and a moon bounce should keep the young Millville natives and visitors in attendance entertained for most of the day.

“It’s going to be very exciting,” said Town Manager Linda Collins. “It’s been exciting. The support from the community has been wonderful.”

With generous help from the community, the committee raised more than $40,000 to hold the Centennial Celebration, which was much more than was expected, according to most sources.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Willey said. It went way beyond all of our expectations, people wanting to be a part. The committee has worked hard. They just are leaving no stones unturned.”

After meeting just once a month to start, the committee started getting together twice a week in the past month, preparing for tomorrow’s events. At their last meeting, they finalized plans and we able to revel at the level of community support, at which most have been awed.

“The people are just more than glad to be involved and offer anything that they can,” said Sue Knox, town clerk and member of the Centennial Committee. That’s what communities are all about.”