From Metrowest Daily News: Hundreds of parents, kids, business owners, artists, musicians, student athletes and volunteers gathered at Stone Park and other venues around town on a picture-perfect Saturday to show their pride in their hometown as Ashland Day hit its milestone 30thyear.
“Everyone’s pretty excited,” said volunteer Karri Fabbri, who added that fireworks planned for the evening made the event extra special this year. Fireworks had been cost-prohibitive for the last several years, and had not taken place since Ashland Day’s 25th year, she said.
Events included a soccer challenge, an auction, cupcake decorating, tie dying and a bike parade, where youngsters showed off bicycles decorated with ribbons, glow sticks, decals, pom poms and colorful streamers. The grand prize for this year’s bike parade was won by Anthony John Harper, 5, who outfitted his bike in a space missile theme and wore a costume to match.
“It felt great,” said Anthony, who needed a hug from his daddy and a few minutes to recover from the surprise before he could describe what it was like to win the trophy at the bike parade, which attracted about 20 children in the pre-kindergarten to fourth grades. All kids who entered received a goodie bag of prizes.
“I think it’s a great expression of what community is,” said Anthony’s mother, Nicole Treddin. She said the family moved to Ashland from Newton last summer and are impressed by Ashland Day.
“Good,” Anthony replied succinctly when asked for his opinion of Ashland Day.
“I think people are drawn in by all the colors,” said Rebecca Leung, who was selling a colorful mix of vegetables at the Farmers Market, which was already bustling with customers in its first hour. She said some vegetables associated with the fall are beginning to make their appearances, while others that grow primarily during the summer have finished their season.
“Sometimes people are surprised by how much you can get locally,” she said, while showing the texture of an unusual apple-green eggplant.
“When you buy in a grocery store, you don’t usually meet the people who grow your vegetables,” said Brittany Overshiner, who was working with Leung at Medway Community Farm’s booth, which was one of dozens of businesses selling local foods, plants and flowers. Leung and Overshiner credited the state of Massachusetts for programs that allow low-income residents to use their Women, Infants and Children or food stamp benefits at local farmers markets so they can also experience the taste and health benefits from fresh local foods.
“There are samples of everything, and once people try they tend to buy,” said Ron Starcher with Brookfield’s Town Farm Gardens, who was selling pickles, salsas, jams and hot sauces. He had a stack of recipes for ways to use the products. Selling his products from a farmers market booth is a lot more fun than a retail store, he added.
Organizers of the well-attended event said Ashland Day attracts not only local residents, but also residents of nearby towns who want to join in the fun and help celebrate Ashland, which is believed to have been settled in 1750 and was incorporated as a town in 1846.
With no prediction of rain in the forecast, it was looking good for the evening’s fireworks at Hopkinton State Park.
“People are psyched for that,” said Fabbri.