Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 3, 2013

Mark Maynard: Tradition like few others: 07/04/13

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — Summer Motion has had a lot of fun traditions over the past 24 years.

The community has come to expect the best of the best because, well, that is what has been delivered year after year.

It doesn’t happen with smoke and mirrors, I assure you.

Traditions come in several shapes and sizes, some neatly wrapped in red, white and blue, others in the form of a beloved friend.

Meet David Browning, the Mayberry deputy.

He’s also the Summer Motion Deputy (with apologies to Maj. Todd Kelley, Maj. Mark McDowell and Chief Rob Ratliff).

Browning will be writing you silly tickets for the 10th time in the festival’s history all week long. He looks and acts exactly like Barney Fife, the famed and beloved character from the “Andy Griffith Show.”

Be sure to run into him this week — and expect to smile. He’ll likely give you a ticket for wearing too red of a shirt and may call you “Stretch” if you’re more than him. He may even give you a ticket for smiling, it’s all part of his gig and don’t worry, Andy will throw it away later anyhow.

Browning had the crowd laughing again on Wednesday afternoon when Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles was honored by the Summer Motion committee for his 14 years of leadership of the festival.

Browning took a few good-natured “Barney” shots at our mayor and we all expected nothing less. He sang for us, gave an ode to the Pillsbury Doughboy and generally provided the kind of top-notch entertainment that has become expected of him.

But when he was done being Barney for the day, he talked a little bit about how special Summer Motion has been to him the past 10 years, about how it almost seemed like a slice of life in Mayberry. He mentioned that Thursday was the one-year anniversary of Andy Griffith’s death and how just that morning he was watching part of an “Andy” marathon on television.

The beloved TV show, like Summer Motion, keeps chugging along with the best it can offer.

It’s nice to hear from an “outsider” about how great this summer festival has become over the years. It goes toward the quality of life issues in the Ashland area. Summer Motion provides an outlet for the family who is struggling to make ends meet but needs a break from the work-a-day world. It provides a venue to watch world-class entertainment while saluting our veterans and military servicemen for what they mean to us.

It can be a true Stay-Cation Destination. There aren’t many places you can go anywhere and enjoy the free entertainment from well-known musical acts.

Charles doesn’t claim to be an engineer but he does have a formula for success. Here it is: S + V + C x P = SM.

Here’s how it breaks down: Sponsors + Volunteers + Community x Passion = Summer Motion.

That’s how it happens year after year.

It’s a proven formula Prof. Charles.