Welcome to Kentucky’s Favorite Christmas Town.
That should be Ashland’s slogan for November and December.
It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know what we do best around here. It’s as plain as the red nose on Rudolph’s face: It’s Christmas!
What other town our size — or a town almost any size — has what we have or does what we do around the holidays? I mean, seriously, let’s think about it for a minute.
We start Christmas as early as Walmart and Hobby Lobby — and I say good for us. It’s our Calling Card. Our Christmas Calling Card, if you will.
Doesn’t it make you feel good when city workers start stringing the lights downtown or the Paramount Arts Center puts up its tree on the outside of the marquee? You know Christmas is calling.
I know there’s all that hustle and bustle, that gift-buying, house-decorating, party planning and everything else that goes along with the busiest season of the year. But take a second to smell the poinsettias — Christmas is pretty cool around here.
And, on a personal note, I hope we never forget the real reason for the season — the birth of Jesus Christ. Remember, it’s not just about the gifts under the tree. There’s a lot more to Christmas than that.
It’s an uplifting season and it starts early in Our Town, our very own Christmas Town USA, earlier than most places.
On Monday, they flipped the switch for the Winter Wonderland of Lights that officially gets the festivities started.
We Townies tend to take for granted the spectacularness of the Winter Wonderland of Lights around Central Park. But it’s certainly a great marketing tool for our city. People come from miles around to see the light displays twinkling. While here, they find out a little about Ashland’s friendliness (hopefully anyway), our vast choices of eateries (yummy) and plenty of shopping opportunities (cha-ching go the cash registers).
On Tuesday comes the annual Christmas Parade, an event in and of itself. It takes a couple of hours to watch the entire parade and, if you’ve lived here long enough, then you probably have some connection to it — either as a longtime bystander or probably a participant in some form or fashion.
I’ve been at the Christmas Parade in ridiculously warm and ridiculously cold weather. It doesn’t matter, it’s part of the tradition.
Of course, there’s the Festival of Trees and Trains at the Paramount Arts Center. What says Christmas more than Christmas trees? It’s another event we locals take for granted, but the grandness of it shouldn’t be underestimated. First-time viewers are overwhelmed and it’s one of the most amazing displays you’ll see during the holidays anywhere.
But the PAC doesn’t stop there. After the Trees and Trains are plenty of other Christmas goodies in the forms of shows and concerts.
And here’s a shameless plug: Unity Baptist Church, where I attend, has been putting on the “Living Christmas Tree” for more than 25 years. Where else can you go and see a 40-foot Christmas tree loaded with 30,000 sychronized lights and singers? Ashland has one.
You’ve got to love our Christmas spirit. Not in the mood for the holidays? Just come and pay Ashland a visit, shop in our stores, take a leisurely stroll (or ride) around the park and sip on a hot chocolate, or lose yourself in the seemingly never-ending Christmas parade. It’ll melt the heart of any Scrooge.
“Bah! Humbug?” Not around here. It’s not allowed. Not in Christmas Town USA.
Shout it from the rooftops — just don’t nudge Santa from his perch — Ashland is Kentucky’s Favorite Christmas Town.
That’s us. Come and visit. You’ll be glad you did.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.
Welcome to Kentucky’s Favorite Christmas Town.
- Local News
Cathey, 35, rejects plea agreement
A man accused of manslaughter rejected an eleventh-hour plea agreement on the third day of his trial in Carter Circuit Court.
Testimony continued Thursday in the case of Clifford “Boomer” Cathey, 35, of Grayson, who’s charged with first-degree manslaughter in the 2012 New Years' Day beating death of Heath Toney, 42, also of Grayson.
12/13/2013 — Holiday Highlights
12/13/2013 — What's Happening
Ponderosa student wins highway poster contest
Fourth-grader Morgan Leigh Lewis of Ponderosa Elementary knows her way to the Governor’s Mansion.
Habitat project on Cave Run focus of meeting
The fisheries division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is holding a public meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 to explain an upcoming habitat project on Cave Run Lake. The meeting will be at the Morehead Conference Center, located at 111 East Main St. in Morehead.
‘Big Bang Theory’ star to speak at MSU
Mayim Bialik, best known for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on the popular television sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” is making a big bang around Morehead.
Several cases of identity theft reported
A man living in the 2300 block of Beech Street on Tuesday reported someone had opened two credit card accounts in his name without his knowledge and run up more than $1,800 in charges on them.
City tax incentive approved
The Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a new tax-incentive program designed to enable the city to better compete with other cities in the Tri-State for new businesses and new jobs.
Under the program, new employers will be able to qualify for rebates of the city’s payroll tax of up to 50 percent over five years, and will be able to use the money as they see fit.
Verity overhaul hammering away
While all eyes have been on Putnam Stadium and its recently completed rebuilding plans, work has been going on more or less quietly next door on the major overhaul of Verity Middle School.
Since school started, work crews have completely gutted the third floor and gotten renovations well underway there. They also have laid foundations for a new gym and locker room, and for an expansion of the cafeteria.
CAReS gets $5K gift from KDMC for Christmas
Workers at Community Assistance Referral Services who typically aid low-income individuals found themselves accepting a helping hand when King’s Daughters Medical Center paid it forward with a lofty donation Thursday afternoon.
KDMC employees, including new President and CEO Kristie Whitlatch, arrived at CAReS to personally present the $5,000 check to the staff. CAReS Director Trish Hall was overwhelmed by the generous donation.
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- Cathey, 35, rejects plea agreement