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Ashland Summer Days Returns: Don’t Miss Pickleball on Sunday

Ashland Summer Days Returns: The delightful village of Ashland is gearing up for its beloved annual tradition, Ashland Summer Days, scheduled to begin this weekend amid the lush surroundings of James Park. Celebrating its 44th year, this cherished event organized by the Ashland Community Club promises a weekend brimming with festivities and community spirit.

The excitement begins on Friday evening at 6 p.m. as the gates open to a bustling lineup of vendors, tempting food stands, a lively beer garden, and classic arcade games. Adding to the evening’s enjoyment, local celebrities will take turns in the dunk tank, providing both entertainment and relief from the summer heat. The festivities continue with live music from west-central Illinois musicians Jobe & Woody, who will entertain the crowd from 7 to 10 p.m., setting a vibrant tone for the weekend.

Saturday begins with a respectful flag-raising ceremony led by the American Legion at 9 a.m., followed by a grand parade that winds through the village center. The morning also features the prestigious First Citizen Award ceremony, which recognizes a resident for their exceptional community service. Additionally, the Prairie Skies Public Library District will present its Best Friend Award, honoring a dedicated supporter who enhances local resources through their commitment.

Midday activities are designed for young festival-goers with a baby contest for newborns to 1-year-olds, a toddler contest for ages 2 to 4, and the charming Little Miss & Mister Contest for children aged 5 to 7. Families can also enjoy inflatables, a petting zoo, and the competitive spirit of a sand volleyball tournament starting at noon. For a more relaxed diversion, bingo kicks off at 1:30 p.m. in the park pavilion.

Ashland Summer Days Returns

The evening promises more delights with Walby’s Place serving up a delicious fish fry at 5 p.m., followed by the beer garden opening at 5:30 p.m. The highlight of the night features Chandlerville’s country artist Gabe Carlock performing from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.As evening approaches, excitement mounts for the festival’s 50/50 raffle draw at 7:30 p.m. The night concludes with cover band Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters performing on stage from 8 to 11 p.m., promising a memorable end to Saturday’s celebrations. Leonhard mentioned that the festival hadn’t featured a carnival as far back as she could recall, highlighting the community’s expressed desire to include one.

We’ve looked over the years and the problem is they’re either too expensive or carnivals don’t want to come to us because our event is too small for them, said Leonhard.

Sunday offers a peaceful conclusion with a brand-new addition—an exciting pickleball tournament starting at 9 a.m. at West Park. The festival concludes with a leisurely hamburger lunch at 11 a.m., offering one last chance for community members to connect and relish the fellowship of the weekend.

Reflecting on this year’s event, Emily Leonhard, President of the Ashland Community Club, expressed excitement about the new additions and the community’s enduring support.

“A lot of people in town come out once a year for this and I enjoy that,” leonhard remarked.

As Ashland Summer Days goes forward, it not only celebrates summer but also shows the lasting spirit of community and the joy of coming together. For residents and visitors alike, this weekend promises cherished memories and reaffirms what makes Ashland a special place to call home.

News in Brief: Ashland Summer Days Returns

Ashland Summer Days, now in its 44th year, returns to James Park with a weekend of festivities. Starting Friday evening, enjoy vendors, food stands, a beer garden, and arcade games. Live music by Jobe & Woody sets the tone.

Saturday begins with a flag-raising and parade, followed by awards and contests for all ages, including a baby contest and sand volleyball. Evening highlights include a fish fry, live music by Gabe Carlock and Captain Geech, and a 50/50 raffle. Sunday features a pickleball tournament and ends with a hamburger lunch. President Emily Leonhard looks forward to the community coming together for this beloved event, celebrating summer and unity in Ashland.

Also read: Sherwood Introduces 24-Hour Pickleball Courts: Explore the Excitement

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