The village of Milford and the Otsego County Relay For Life will present “Celebrating Our Heroes” Saturday, Sept. 11 at Wilber Park in Milford.
“We had planned to do a fall festival, but Mayor Brian Pokorny noticed that it was happening on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and suggested we combine events,” Otsego County Relay For Life Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Mickle said.
The celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a parade, Mickle said. “We’re expecting a nice turnout of local fire departments and youth groups.”
Mickle said the invitation to march in the parade is open to anyone who wants to participate, including teachers and health care workers.
“We want to remember the 9/11 heroes and thank all the unsung heroes from the past 18 months,” Mickle said.
Line up will be at the Milford Central School, at 42 West Main Street in Milford, she said. The parade will traverse West Main Street, turn right onto state Route 28 and end at Wilber Park, she said.
After the parade ends, the opening ceremony for the relay will begin, she said. Guest speakers will be former state Sen. James Seward, current state Sen. Peter Oberbacker and state Assemblyman John Salka.
“Sen. Seward is a cancer and COVID survivor and Assemblyman Salka lost his daughter to brain cancer,” Mickle said.
She said there will also be a moment of silence for the victims of Sept. 11. Entertainment will be provided by the band Hanzolo from 6 to 8 p.m., and there will be raffle baskets, and children’s activities, she said.
Children’s activities include a bounce house and the Milford Fire Department will have trucks for children to explore, she said. The Otsego County Sheriff’s Department will also be there to fingerprint children.
There will also be food vendors at the park, and the Otsego County Department of Health will offer COVID-19 vaccines during the event, she said.
The traditional luminaria ceremony will be a little different than at previous relays, Mickle said.
“We are allowing anyone to purchase a luminary in honor of not only cancer survivors, but for local heroes too,” she said.
People can honor police officers, firefighters, teachers, health care workers, grocery store clerks or anyone they feel went above and beyond during the past year, she said. Following the luminaria ceremony, there will be a fireworks show, she said.
Mickle said she has been part of the Otsego County Relay For Life for about 20 years, with the past four years as chair of the committee. She said she volunteered after a friend was diagnosed with cancer and survived. She said she also has relatives who battled cancer successfully and others who have died.
She said she believed the people who have survived cancer are alive today because of the research funded by the American Cancer Society, which will be the beneficiary of proceeds from Saturday’s event.
Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.