“Running around like a chicken with its head cut off” — that’s how Chuck Charles describes what it is like to prepare for a weekend full of Summer Motion events.

Even though the processes of providing Central Park with electricity for various booths and setting up the stage at Ashland’s Riverfront Park can be challenging, the president of the Summer Motion Inc. said things are starting to fall into place.

“I like to do something different every year,” Charles said. “This year we will have the largest number of inflatable rides to date, as well as a water park in Central Park.

“And, for the first time, we have two air shows scheduled,” he said. “There’s one on Monday and one on Tuesday at 6:30 nightly at the Ashland Boat Ramp.”

The first of three concert days begins on Monday on Ashland’s riverfront at 8 p.m. with Ricochet and the Oak Ridge Boys. Poco and SHeDAISY follow Tuesday at 8 p.m. There will be a fireworks show in between these concerts starting at 9 p.m.

The Bellamy Brothers and The Guess Who wrap things up Wednesday on the riverfront.

Charles, who attends a special fireworks show in Tennessee called “Booms Day” where he selects the fireworks used during Summer Motion, said there will be a few surprises during the show.

“We spend about $15,000 just on fireworks,” Charles said. “The fireworks show costs us about $1,000 a minute.”

Summer Motion, now in its 18th year of free entertainment for families, was kicked off Saturday with the annual Soap Box Derby and the Summer Motion Beauty Pageant.

The traditional Summer Motion 10K race begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. Events at the park start Saturday at 10 a.m. with health screenings by King’s Daughters Medical Center and the WTCR Colgate Country Showdown, which begins at 11 a.m.

The annual Independence Day Parade starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“The draw to Summer Motion events is the level of excitement and the festive atmosphere.” Charles said. “Family is the focus with these events. There’s something for everyone. It’s just a fun time.”

Charles, an employee of Town Square Bank, said the best perk to his Summer Motion responsibilities “is being on the front row.”

“I can look out and see 30,000 people smiling and having a good time. That’s what our mission is with this event — to create something that everybody can enjoy. That’s the payback.”

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