MILTON — Riverfest 2017 on Tuesday drew a crowd to downtown Milton under clear skies. 

The annual Independence Day event featured the Firecracker Motorcycle Show and the Freedom Car Show. Numerous boats of various sizes lined the Riverwalk.

Festival goers had several food options, with vendors offering standard items like hamburgers and fried chicken as well as carnival foods like fried Oreos and fried candy bars.

Santa Rosa Medical Center was the main sponsor while the City of Milton and McKenzie Motors sponsored the event's fireworks display at dark.

The 11th Great Mill Town Duck Race, the Blackwater Pyrates’ annual fundraiser featuring rubber ducks, offered $1,500 for first place, $750 for second place, and $250 for third place. Race winners were all corporate sponsors: Tracie Johnson with Advanced Insurance, Jones Fence Company and Greg Cowell with Farm Bureau.

The Blackwater Pyrates, a civic organization in Santa Rosa County, is dedicated to maritime heritage preservation, boater safety and river cleanup. The money the organization collects during the annual Great Mill Town Duck Race supports these three mission elements. 

For maritime heritage preservation, the Pyrates give grants to University of West Florida students involved in local archaeology; typically $1,250 per student.

For boater safety, the Pyrates invite the Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to assist during Boater Safety Week. For boaters who lack required items like life jackets and flares, the Pyrates provide them at no charge.
Lastly, the Pyrates hold two annual river cleanups with money going toward requisite supplies.

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