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Ashland Area Summer Fest closes with weekend of family activities

ASHLAND, Maine — Even an early morning rain shower could not dampen the spirits of community members who took part in some of the final activities of the Ashland Area Summer Fest.

On Saturday, July 6, festival organizers were set on carrying on with the annual Fourth of July parade regardless of the weather. But minutes before the lineup of more than 20 floats hit Main Street the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds.

The parade is one of the highlights of the summer fest, with floats coming from the Ashland and Masardis fire departments, pageant queens, businesses, civic organizations and the reunited Ashland Community High School classes of 1969 and 1989. 

“This is the biggest amount of floats we’ve ever had for the parade,” said Andrea White, a member of the Ashland Area Summer Fest committee. “We had a downpour of rain this morning, but luckily it stopped.”

This year marked the first time that Ashland included prize categories for parade floats. The Ashland One-Stop won the Best Business trophy while Most Patriotic went to the Ashland Girl Scout Troop and the Most Original float went to a group of pageant queens dressed as Disney princesses. Other winners included Best Family, which went to the O’Claire family, and Best Civic Organization to the Ashland Ski Club.

After the parade, numerous children and families swung by the Ashland Recreation Center for outdoor activities such as pony rides, face painting, a bounce house, tractor rides courtesy of the Northern Maine Antique Tractor Club and carnival games for which children earned tickets to cash in for door prizes.

For many people the festival was a chance to reconnect with family and friends in Ashland. Thomas Malena, a former Ashland resident who now lives in Limestone, attended the Carnival Day at the recreation center with his wife Megan and daughter Natalie, 5.

“It’s cool to come back and see how things have changed,” Thomas Melena said. 

Natalie did not take long to decide what activity was her favorite.

“The tractor rides,” she said.

White noted that despite the many fairs and festivals happening in other areas of Aroostook County, Ashland saw hundreds of visitors throughout the Fourth of July weekend. The committee hopes to continue blending both old and new traditions, such as the parade and Carnival Day, together to make future festivals even better.

“I think this is the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” White said. “I want to thank everyone for coming out and having a great time with us.”

The Ashland Area Summer Fest ended on Sunday, July 7.

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