Fair weather brought an estimated 8,000 Halloween revelers to Ashland’s East Main Street Tuesday, dressed up as mangled corpses, pirates, T. Rex, Wonder Woman and anything you can imagine, marching, pouncing, texting and displaying their boundless creativity.
The big local dance troupe, Samba Like It Hot, led the mad procession, along with the Ashland Middle School Jazz Band.
The big draw, as usual in this annual hoot, was Ashland Dance Works’ rousing performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on Pioneer Street. After that, the Ashland High School drumline and other drummers gathered on The Plaza to lead a tribal-like saturnalia.
“It’s an amazing thing that everyone participates in, young to old, with such creativity in the costumes,” said reveler Suzanne Seibert.
Her friend Chris Williams added, “You have to love the amazing outfits and the sense of humor and whimsey, the joy and good will, with whole families getting on one theme, like the robot family wearing boxes.”
Dressed as The Tick (a comic superhero), Kelly Burns said the parade is distinct and special because “Everyone comes and they go all out with their creativity.”
Steve Granach dressed covered with bar codes, as a digital consumer, and said, “It’s my favorite day of the year. People of all ages come out as their inner alter egos and this is such an opportunity to do that.”
As the monster crowd gathered at the city library, starting point for the procession, Tish McFadden and Brian Freeman performed their music. Faces were painted in front of Wells Fargo Bank. A photo booth grabbed memories of costumes in front of the chamber. An "Ashlandia Witch Dance Party" was held by Treehouse Books. And kids trick-or-treated each of the downtown businesses, with staff in costumes.
“Halloween is such an amazingly fun tradition here,” said Kelsey Frantz, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s projects and special events coordinator.
Put on by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, the Children’s Halloween Celebration is marking its approximate 30th anniversary, this following many years of it being a nighttime loop over the same route, but mostly for adults, with no shortage of alcohol. It was ended about 1985 by violence and out-of -towners who lacked the Ashland spirit of orderly fun and respect for all.
— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at email@example.com.