Make Milford Memories in Michigan
The small town of Milford, Michigan is a hidden gem in the metro Detroit area. The town of 6,200 sees a large number of visitors from other local areas year-round.
Milford is probably most commonly known to the surrounding areas for the location of Milford Memories. Every August, the Milford Chamber of Commerce plans and runs the arts and food festival. The massive event drew 300,000 visitors last August.
It is primarily stationed on the Main Street of downtown Milford and stretches into the central park of the town. Streets are lined with vendor tents and merchants of hundreds of different businesses. Most tents are small businesses selling their products. There are unique crafts, food, drinks, clothing items, jewelry, decorations and more.
When I was young, every year I begged my parents for $10 to go to the kettle corn tent and get a two-foot-long bag of freshly popped kettle corn. I still do it as a tradition, but I have to pay for it myself now.
The central park area of the festival is where most people like to hang out. There are multiple beer tents, live bands, food trucks, activities and challenges. One of the most popular activities for adults is the beer cube challenge. The tents bring out massive blocks of ice that participants must sit on and drink their beer. The person who can stay seated on the ice cube the longest wins.
Additionally, there is a three vs. three basketball tournament and a Civil War reenactment with cannon firing. Milford Memories is a huge weekend that brings revenue to local businesses. It gets better every year.
Another great part of Milford is Kensington Metropark, home to lakes, forests, hills and beautiful animals. During the summer, the water park in Kensington is packed with children and families trying to escape the blistering mid-80 degree weather.
The water park features many slides and pools, but also has a beach to Kent Lake. Many teenagers and high school students like to work at the park during the summer in all kinds of roles, even as summer camp guides.
In the fall, hunting is allowed in certain parts of the park to limit deer overpopulation. My favorite time of year to go to Kensington is during the winter to go sledding on some of the massive hills at the park. Just don’t eat too much before you go because it’s a long roll down hill if you fall off your sled.
Just outside of Milford lie two large lakes that the locals can’t get enough of during the summer. Duck Lake and White Lake are just a few miles apart and offer endless fun. The busiest lake days of the season are Memorial Day and Independence Day. The lake gets so crowded and lively that Oakland County Police have to put boats into the water.
The largest source of employment for Milford comes from the Milford Proving Grounds, a branch of General Motors that manufactures, designs, and test all sorts of vehicles and vehicle parts for GM.
There is a four-mile circular testing track where all new vehicles and vehicle designs are tested to determine their progress. In fact, Milford Proving grounds is where the original Chevrolet Volt was designed and created. It was GM’s first fully electric car, and it has since changed the standard for electric-powered cars in the United States. More recently, they created the new Chevrolet Silverado and built a large number of them at the location.
There is more than meets the eye in the small town of Milford. Despite well-known locations and events in the area, Milford maintains its small town feel through its culture and business.