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Ashland to celebrate old and new traditions during annual town festival

ASHLAND, Maine — The town of Ashland will kick off the Fourth of July weekend with an array of family-friendly activities during its annual Ashland Area Summer Festival.

The long weekend will begin on July 3 with an open house of Katahdin Valley Health Center’s Ashland clinic on Walker Street, a girls softball round robin game and adult softball game. 

Other activities throughout the festival will include farm tours, family movie nights, music at the bandstand on Exchange Street, fireworks, a street dance, children’s carnival and the annual parade on Saturday, July 6, that includes numerous floats, an antique tractor train, horse-drawn wagons and the Anah Shrine clown cars.

New to this year’s parade are five categories that all floats could potentially win: Best Civic Club, Best Business, Most Patriotic, Most Original and Best Family. The parade begins at 9 a.m., starting from Ashland District School, goes up Hayward Street to Exchange Street and then rides through Main Street before heading up Presque Isle Road to end at the school.

Ashland Area Summer Fest Committee co-chairwoman Andrea White said she is looking forward to many new festival events such as the lobster feed on July 6 and an “old-fashioned country fair” cooking contest on July 7. 

“We’re always looking for new ideas to help the festival grow,” White said. “People love to cook in Ashland, so we thought a contest would be a great way to show off their talents. There is no fee to enter.”

On July 6 the festival is continuing a tradition that began last year with the Carnival Day for children at the Ashland Recreation Center. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. families will be invited to take part in games such as a sack race, three-legged race, bowling, a crab walk soccer tournament at 2 p.m. and a magician show at 3 p.m. 

The afternoon will also feature face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, a bounce house and food vendors, including an ice cream truck.

The festival committee will present the Citizen of the Year award at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 6, at the bandstand. Although the committee cannot reveal the name of the winner until that evening, White said that they always give the award to a person who has made great contributions to Ashland and its surrounding communities.

White noted that the Ashland festival offers folks who do not plan to travel during the Fourth of July weekend a great alternative to the more crowded events in other areas of the state, and a chance to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with family and friends.

“It’s a way for us to gather together and keep people in the community during what is usually a high travel weekend. We have great food, music, games and activities and I encourage people to come out and have a good time,” White said.

For a complete schedule of festival events, go to http://townofashland.org/ or the Ashland Area Summer Fest Facebook page.

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