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Ashland Festival Off to Rousing Start

Folks in Ashland have something big to brag about the next 6 weeks. The Winter Wonderland of Lights is underway!

Winter Wonderland a Fall Spectacle

The 21st annual Winter Wonderland of Lights Festival is underway at Central Park in Ashland as everything from Central Park to Winchester Avenue is decked out in its Holiday garb.

At 6:45 this Monday evening, Whitley Bays the newly crowned Festival queen led her court in the ceremonial switch flipping that began this 6 week extravaganza. It took a good 2 minutes, but the circuit breakers at the park held and one by one the festival lights at the park came to life. Said Festival Co-Chair Marion Russell, “we have 800 thousand luminaries. Its takes time to get them all warmed up for action”.

All along Central Avenue everything from lighted dinosaurs to giant cheese houses to the Nativity Scene came to life. “It’s a marvelous tradition that is a source of civic pride for our town”, Amanda Watts told me as she sipped a cup of hot chocolate.

This year’s newest attraction is a replica of the Pigeon Forge Tennessee grist mill located in the center of the park along Chuck Wollery Way.

On a pleasant fall night, some 700 festival goers gathered outside the park gazebo to welcome Santa.

The King’s Way Church Choir warmed the crowd up with their Christmas carols before giving way to the Poage and Russell Elementary 6th Grade Singers. I used a chorus from the 6th graders at 11pm.

Looking ahead, next Tuesday night will be the grand festival Christmas parade with members of the 201st Engineer Battalion the proud Grand Marshalls. Giant humvees and the like will lead the parade route as thousand jam downtown.

The Winter Wonderland of Lights runs thru New Years weekend. By the way Marion tells me the ice rink will be up and skating once the cold weather sets in so I may well lace up the old hockey blades for a live shot one night!
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