Hello friends, and welcome back to downtown. Are you all rested up? I hope so, because after a short break, the downtown Ashland social calendar is back up and full of groovy and amazing stuff. So clear your dance card, because things are going to be hopping along Main Street.
First up, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Thursday, June 22. Every year, the Ohio Special Olympics is held in Columbus, and every year, the Olympic torch is run to the event, and every year, law enforcement officers from all over the state run with the torch and the Special Olympic athletes through Ohio to Columbus.
Because we have the best police officers ever, of course our Ashland Police, Ashland County Sheriff's Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Loudonville Police run, too.
So here's what happens. The Olympic torch is driven down 71 and stops at participating cities (no, they don't RUN down the highway; that is not only illegal, but also crazy dangerous).
When it gets to Ashland, the torch is handed off to our peeps waiting at the Justice Center, and they run, with the torch, all the way down Main Street to Corner Park, when we greet them and congratulate them and feed them cupcakes.
Now, on the way to Corner Park, the most important part of the run occurs. We, you, I, all of Ashland, line Main Street and cheer on these incredible people, as they run with the torch.
This is, in my mind, the coolest part of this event and the part that really makes it so special -- when Ashlanders come out of the stores and yell and clap and congratulate and bang gongs (or whatever you have handy) and support these runners.
When (now Lt.) Alting told me about this event and asked if we could do a little something downtown, I said yes (of course). What I didn't realize at the time was how many people would also say yes of course and join us and take a few minutes of their day to cheer.
So, now that I have you all excited to be a part of this, when, pray tell, does it happen? Well, that's the tricky part. The torch is coming from the north, and depending on how the departments are ahead of us, the plan is to land at the Justice Center around 2:30 p.m. Ish. Give or take.
Then, the torch is run to us, so we usually guestimate they will arrive downtown at 3 p.m. Ish. Give or take.
So, if you want to be a part of this great event, you should be downtown sometime in there. Check with us on Facebook -- we'll keep you up to date as well as we can. Our goal is to get as many people as possible along Main Street on Thursday around 2:30 to 3 p.m. in the afternoon to clap and cheer everyone on. That's doable, right?
Our next event involves our friends in the other Historic District in Ashland. That's right -- I'm talking to you, Center Street peeps.
As hard as it is to believe, July is right around the corner, and we celebrate the 4th here the old-fashioned way, with a parade of kids.
Ashland Main Street is back in charge of the Push 'Em Pull 'Em Parade, and that means if you have a little kid, and a non-motorized conveyance, we want to see you downtown Saturday, July 1.
For those of you who have never participated, the Push 'Em Pull 'Em Parade is that kind of old-fashioned celebration that you see in Norman Rockwell paintings.
No floats, no politicians; just kids on their bikes or in their wagons, all red white and blue-d up for the holiday.
The rules to participate are simple. If you want to be involved and have a kid of your own or one you can borrow, you're in. Choose your conveyance, be it wagon, stroller, bicycle or what have you (nothing motorized, though, please). Decorate that baby in red, white, and blue whatever.
Balloons, crepe paper, streamers; we're celebrating our freedom here, so make a splash. (And know that there are prizes for the best decorated entry.) Bring kid and conveyance to South Street (new location) before one o'clock (new time! new time!) where we will gather in front of the Gilbert's Warehouse and Substance Church (shout out to our peeps with the church's ServeAshland committee who are helping out with this).
And at one, we're off. Down South Street to Center, and up the hill to BalloonFest at Freer Field, and all the fun stuff they have for you.
We are looking forward to the streets being lined, again, with people cheering these kids on (if you don't have friends on Center Street, you can plop yourself in front of a church or business to cheer -- everyone likes a good cheerleader).
Phew -- that's a lot of cheering and supporting I'm asking of you in the next few weeks. Good thing there is so much to support and cheer here, huh? We'll see you downtown, soon.
Sandra Tunnell is executive director of Ashland Main Street.