It’s a good excuse to drink a little beer, eat a little corned beef and cabbage, wear green and revel with friends!
Surprisingly enough, Milton, DE is one of the best local places to do all of it. It is home to one of the most festive celebrations throughout the coastal and inland towns. Sunday, March 13th marks the 14th Annual Milton St Patrick’s Day Parade and the 7th Annual Lucky Leprechaun 5K race. Milton’s Irish Eyes Pub and Restaurant started the parade in 2008, two years after it had opened for business on Union Street. According to the Irish Eyes web site, the parade was born from the desire to give back to the town “that welcomed us with open arms.” The intention was to raise money for the Milton Fire Department and Casa San Francisco, a Catholic Charities facility located off of Mulberry Street.
The event raised $1,000 after a modest start of barely a dozen parade entries. Boy, did it blossom. The 2019 Parade drew 75 entries and combined with the Leprechaun 5K, organizers donated almost $20,000 to that year’s beneficiaries. Parade organizers barely squeezed in the event in 2020 before everything locked down and it did not take place last year due to Covid. The funding comes from sponsor fees, parade entries and a runner’s fee for the 5K.
This year, in addition to the fire department, this year’s beneficiaries include the Milton Chamber of Commerce, and the Gladys Wilkins Seeding the Future Scholarship Fund. The Fund offers scholarships to students in Sussex County who wish to pursue a career in sustainable agriculture. Wilkins was born and raised in Milton, in the farmhouse she called home until her death in December 2013.
The 5K fee is $35 until March 9 at 3 pm. It is $40 the day of the event. Registration on March 13th opens at 9:30 am and the run starts at 11 am. Prizes are awarded in various age groups plus overall times.
The parade starts at 2 pm on Route 5 and the intersection of Atlantic Avenue. It winds right through the heart of Milton ending at the elementary school and is expected to run for about 1.5 hours. Some streets will be closed or one-way so it is best to consult the web site for details. An “After Party” runs until 6 pm with bands, beverages, bites and good old fashion Irish bravado bantered about in the patio area behind the restaurant.
Organizers expect large crowds this year now that Covid restrictions are winding down. Attendees come from all over the region.
“My husband and I have enjoyed the very festive Milton St. Patrick’s Day Parade many times,” said Milton resident Sue Fox. “Our children and grandchildren joined us and loved the parade. We love Ireland and the Irish having traveled there many times. I also taught Irish History. We were lucky enough to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin and on another trip in Galway! The festivities in Milton are in the same spirit as those in Ireland!” Fox is the founder of the Delmarva Travel Club (formerly the Delmarva Bucket List Travel Club).