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Ashland Train Day Awarded 2019 Commemoration Finale Grant

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Downtown Ashland Association has been awarded a 2019 Commemoration Finale Grant for Ashland Train Day. Train Day, now in its 16th year and one of Downtown Ashland Association’s signature events, is a free and family-friendly festival that draws thousands of visitors to Ashland’s historic downtown each year. Ashland Train Day 2019 will take place Saturday, November 2nd from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

“Downtown Ashland Association is thrilled to receive this support, especially in light of our recent re-branding efforts and expanded mission to encourage tourism downtown,” said Maggie Longest, Executive Director of Downtown Ashland Association.

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Photo: Diane Stoakley

The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution Finale Grants were awarded for 16 events statewide taking place in November. Ashland Train Day and other recipients will be promoted as part of the Virginia Customs, Cultures and Cuisine Festival. The program is administered by Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Through a partnership with The Hanover County Black Heritage Society and the Ashland Museum, Downtown Ashland Association will utilize the grant to launch new permanent exhibits that focus on Virginia’s railway evolution and history, the impact on Virginia’s towns and communities, and stories of local and state railway figures. In addition, a scavenger hunt will bring the evolution of Virginia’s railroads and trackside communities to life for participants of all ages.

“Through these new exhibits, we hope to encourage our visitors to look deeper at the resulting social communities, laborers, travelers, tycoons, and towns,” Longest added. “The Hanover County Black Heritage Society will showcase the impact of railway development in the black community to highlight the experiences of African Americans who worked, and were impacted by the rail industry, including laborers, porters and travelers.”

Photo: Diane Stoakley

Photo: Diane Stoakley

The month-long Virginia Customs, Cultures and Cuisine Festival, presented by TowneBank, will be filled with local, regional and statewide events honoring early Virginia history with cultures and styles that have shaped America over 400 years. This special capstone to the 2019 Commemoration will foster statewide participation, tourism, marketing and promotion, and public events to create a contemporary experience for all ages.

The Virginia Customs, Culture and Cuisine Festival is a strategic part of the larger 2019 Commemoration, that recognizes the 400th anniversary of pivotal 1619 Virginia events that forever changed the trajectory of Virginia and America’s history. These 1619 events include the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers to the Virginia colony, the launch of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Commonwealth and more.

We look forward to welcoming you for Ashland Train Day 2019 on November 2nd!

Ashland by Bike: Family-Friendly Itinerary for Summer Fun

Enjoy summer fun with the whole family and explore Downtown Ashland by bike. With trails, shaded streets, and an array of exciting family-friendly stops, we have your pedal-by-pedal guide to taking in all that Ashland has to offer!

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1. PEDAL POWER

Check out the Trains & Brains two-mile bike route. Beginning at Ashland Train Station, follow the tracks north to a designated bike trail and past Railside Park. On the return trip, you’ll pedal the shady streets of Randolph-Macon College. Make sure you stop to enjoy the fountain plaza!

2. SWEET STOP

When you’ve finished the route, it’s a quick jaunt along England Street to sweetFrog for frozen yogurt. The business is tucked into one of Downtown Ashland’s historic properties at 210 England Street, originally built for the Ashland Ice Company in 1921. How fitting!

Image courtesy of    Kiwanis Club of Ashland

Image courtesy of Kiwanis Club of Ashland

3. CLIMB HIGH

Refreshed and refueled, you can pedal west to Kiwanis Pufferbelly Park and enjoy the expansive new playground. Kids can test their skills at the skate park, or find creative ways to climb the spider web and merry-go-round. Little ones will enjoy swings, slides, and a sandbox in the shade.

4. ORDER UP

Once you have conquered the park, cross the street to Sports Page Grill for your choice of American fare. The restaurant honors local youth and college sports teams, alongside televised professional sports.

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5. CATCH A SHOW

For the finale, pedal to Ashland Theatre to catch the 7pm movie. July 19 through August 8, see Disney’s the Lion King in its new live-action version with a celebrity cast (buy tickets here). Spending the evening at the fully-renovated historic theatre is a perfect capstone to an Ashland adventure.

Fourth of July Parade & Celebration

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This quintessential small town Americana celebration takes place in Downtown Ashland each year. Join us!

The parade begins at 11am at Henry Clay Elementary School. Paraders will march the route with pets, bicycles, roller skates, period costumes, and/or musical instruments — all adorned in their best patriotic attire.

(Participants of all ages and species are welcome — simply join the lineup by 10:15am with no motorized vehicles.)

The adoring public awaits the parade finale at Hanover Arts & Activities Center (500 S. Center Street), where food, games, apple pie and pet contests will take place afterward. Plus, the Hanover Concert Band’s patriotic concert begins at 12pm.

Bring lawn chairs and a few dollars cash for the charity food concessions, and join us in Downtown Ashland for a 4th of July celebration that you will never forget!

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Ashland Theatre Recognized for Historic Preservation

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The Art McKinney Historic Preservation Award was presented to Ashland Theatre Foundation and the Town of Ashland on May 29, 2019 in recognition of the extraordinary renovation of the 1948 property in the heart of Downtown Ashland.

The following video tells the Theatre’s remarkable history.

The Ashland Theatre building at 205 England Street first opened in 1948 and continued to operate as a movie theater until 1996.  It was purchased by local developer A.D. Whitaker who made initial restorations and generously gave the building to the Town of Ashland in 2013. A Downtown Ashland Association volunteer committee re-opened the theater in “pop-up mode” in November 2014, leading to the creation of Ashland Theatre Foundation, which undertook a capital campaign and $2.1 million renovation. Ashland Theatre reopened in December 2018 to public acclaim.

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Ashland Theatre is beautifully restored and serves as the center of entertainment for Downtown Ashland, with a wide variety of performances including first-run films, live music, and community events. See the full schedule and buy tickets online at ashlandtheatre.org.

Ashland Theatre
205 England Street
Ashland, Virginia 23005
(804) 401-7007
ashlandtheatre.org