Tonight’s event at Cupola Park ushers in Millsboro’s fireworks show

MILLSBORO — Many moons ago, fireworks were staged in Millsboro in conjunction with its town-wide Big Thursday celebration in late summer.

In the past, Fourth of July pyrotechnics shows were held in Dagsboro at the Church of God and in Georgetown at Delaware Technical Community College.

Tonight, July 1, Millsboro celebrates America’s independence with the only known major fireworks show this evening in central Sussex County.

Special edition t-shirts will be on sale Saturday evening at Cupola Park prior to the fireworks show.

“We’ve never had fireworks in Millsboro for the Fourth of July. So, we are really excited,” said Amy Simmons, executive director of the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce.

“As far as I am aware, it is the only fireworks display on the (U.S.) 113 corridor in the county,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson.

Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway is pumped, too.

“I’m excited,” he said. “The last time I can recall that the town had fireworks was at Big Thursday. And it has been over 10 or 12 years that they had it. Dagsboro for many years had fireworks. That doesn’t happen now. Bringing it back here to Millsboro is a great way to bring people in town.”

Once darkness settles in, fireworks launched from a pontoon-type barge on Millsboro Pond will explode in the heavens just north of the SR 24 John J. Williams Highway Bridge.

The fireworks show professionally staged by Brothers Pyro of Greenwood will serve as the explosive exclamation point to a family-friendly event at Cupola Park, among the prime viewing vantage points.

The free, three-hour, family-friendly community event at Cupola Park runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Fat Daddy’s BBQ and Laura’s Ice Cream/Water Ice are among the handful of food vendors that will be on hand.

Popular DJ Sky Brady will provide music and entertainment at this evening’s community event at Cupola Park.

Popular disc jockey Sky Brady will provide music and entertainment and New Dimensions Church will have a face-painting booth.

“And certainly, we want to emphasize that it’s a free event; free admission,” said Mr. Hudson.

In planning this event, Millsboro chamber officials specifically chose the Saturday night date several days before the Fourth of July.

“That was our whole point. Everybody else is having it near the Fourth or in the middle of the week,” said Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Turner. “Our hope was to get as many people here as possible; on a weekend at that.”

Fireworks come at a cost: about $30,000.

The town of Millsboro earlier this year donated $10,000 as a major sponsor to help kickstart Millsboro chamber’s fundraising efforts.

“This just bodes along very well with council’s goal to enhance reputation as a cultural center as well as a retail and residential center,” said Mr. Hudson.

Community fundraising efforts include ongoing sale of special edition T-shirts and a 50/50 raffle.

Commemorative Stars & Stripes T-shirts, created by Logo Motive in Rehoboth, are priced at $25 each. T-shirts, which feature the logo and “United We Stand; I Support Millsboro Stars & Stripes,” will be available at the community event along with 50/50 chances.

The winning raffle ticket will be drawn at about 8:45 p.m., just prior to the fireworks show. The winner does not need to be present.

As of June 15, the total fundraising tally was a tad over $25,000.

“So, we’re really pushing to get these T-shirts sold and 50/50 tickets. They do help. Every little bit does count,” said Mr. Turner.

Sunday, July 2 is the rain date for the fireworks. “If the whole weekend is a washout we’re going to have to reschedule it completely,” said Mr. Turner. “But we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Labor Day weekend has been suggested as a possible rescheduling date, Mr. Turner.

The fireworks celebration is the Millsboro chamber’s major community event this year. “With this, we’re kind of just getting our feet wet to see it is feasible to do it another year,” said Mr. Turner. “It’s one of them ‘wait and see and don’t rain’ deals.”

To purchase a T-shirt or raffle tickets prior to the July 1 event, call the chamber office at 934-6777 (leave message if no answer) or email amy@millsborochamber.com.

Traffic/parking

With anticipation of more traffic than usual on a weekend night, Millsboro Police Department plans to employ beefed-up staff.

“We actually will have five additional officers just assigned to this detail,” said Chief Calloway. “As for when the event closes, there will be officers assigned at certain locations for traffic control, trying to get traffic out of here in an orderly fashion.”

Officers will be assigned at intersections, including Main and State streets, Washington and State streets, at the highway (U.S. 113) and at Cupola Park on SR 24, Chief Calloway said.

“I think the beginning will be much easier to manage than it will be towards the end, because everybody is going all want to leave,” Chief Calloway said. “Our plan is to have personnel at those major intersections keeping traffic flowing.”

The chamber and town also remind people to consider parking options. Those options include the Millsboro Fire Company lot on State Street, the municipal lot, side street parking where permitted (be courteous not to block driveways) and possibly an area near Millsboro Middle School.

“And the (Millsboro) Town Center is an option for parking for those who are willing to walk a few blocks,” said Mr. Hudson. “We’re trying to make sure people know there are parking options.”

Handicapped parking is available at Cupola Park with proper permit.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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