Hello, friends! If you thought the last few weeks were busy in Ashland, hold on to your hats, because we are about to concentrate a zillion people (give or take) in our downtown, and we want to make sure you are part of the festivities!
First up, if you haven’t been paying attention, we’ve got Shop Under the Stars and Sundown Sounds on Friday night.
Our Sundown Sounds concerts are still going strong, but to give you time to make it downtown, we have pushed them back a bit to 7 p.m. We’re still in PNC Park, we still have a cash bar and we still have live music. This month, we’ll be featuring Al Bonnis on his solo guitar, playing Motown, Blues, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
One thing we don’t have this year is a food truck, because we want you all to check out our great restaurants and bring your dinner to us (not really, although if you have buffalo dip from Joan’s Tavern I wouldn’t say no to sharing). Listening to live music in your downtown with a drink in your hand seems to be the penultimate urban experience, and we are pretty stoked to provide that for you, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Coldwell Banker Ward Real Estate and Huntington Bank!
So, if the concert is pushed back to 7, what will you do until it starts? Umm, shop downtown, of course! This is the perfect opportunity for you to explore our downtown and check out all those stores you’ve been hearing us talk about, or seeing in the media, but just haven’t had a chance to visit.
To make it even easier and more fun to explore, we’ve given our Shop Under the Stars nights a theme. This month, it’s “50s Fling." If your poodle skirt has seen better days, that’s ok. Our stores will have 50s music and 50s activities and fling-like specials and 50s flair in their stores. Sock hop it around downtown and check out these great businesses with unique, locally-made goods!
Speaking of the 50s, we also have an event on Saturday. You may not know, but we host a car show downtown the 2nd Saturday of July, and that Saturday is this one!
About 700 cars will be rolling into downtown and parking on Main Street, Center, Cottage, Church, Claremont, the county lot…just about anywhere and everywhere we can put them. They aren’t all 50s cars, either; we have cars of all ages, all models, and all styles, as well as motorcycles and trucks, too.
Even if you aren’t a car person, we encourage you to come down and check out the show. The sidewalks are full of vendors and games, we have a dj and live music, we have two food courts, we have raffles, a 50/50, and more. It’s so much fun! There is plenty to do for kids (come see AU's Tuffy for photos at the old Sutton Bank from 1-2 p.m.) and adults (check out Donley Alley and their display of Fords and specialty cars, by the VFW). And if you are a car person, then we expect to see you here taking it all in.
While this is an amazingly fun and exciting day, it also does good. All of the money that we raise goes to Shop With a Cop, our local, award-winning organization that ensures underprivileged kids in our community can have a Christmas and get to know and become friends with our law enforcement officers. We have lots of goodies for sale, a 50/50, and a straight up donation jar. While this event is all free, please know that any money you do spend on car show-related activities goes to help these kids.
Another unique thing about our show is that all of the trophies are given out by local sponsors. Not only does their trophy money go to the kids, the sponsors get to choose a car (or several) that they like.
We have almost 70 trophy sponsors, including our five headliners, who have each given over $2,00 each this year for our show: Johnson’s Auto Body, Thiel’s Home Solutions, Jim & Barb Chandler, the Eagles and University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center. Johnson’s, Thiel’s, and the Eagles have been major sponsors since we first started this show nine years ago, and we are extremely fortunate to have their support. We were enormously blessed last year to receive a $10,000 check (yes, you read that correctly-- ten thousand dollars) from our Ashland Eagles to support the Shop With a Cop program. If you are an Eagle, or if you know one, thank you so much for your generosity!
After the show, the fun isn’t over; We have a pretty cool thing we call the Dream Cruise, when our show cars are invited to tool around town and show off their wheels. If you live on the cruise route, we encourage you to be out at 4 p.m. to cheer on these cars and their owners! We promise they’ll honk right back at you.
The car show runs from 12-4 p.m., but the streets will be closed at 6 a.m. and the cars will start rolling in soon after (so if you are trying to get across town Saturday morning, downtown on Main Street would not be the best option). Awards begin around 3:30 p.m., and then we cruise the town!
Fun times and helping people-- It’s pretty much what we’re all about.
So that’s this weekend in a nutshell. You, me, and a few thousand of our closest friends. Pretty groovy, eh? We can’t wait! We will see you all downtown all weekend long!
Sandra Tunnell is the Ashland Main Street Executive Director.