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Ashland Days brings 'flashbacks'

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SING: Brandon “Elvis” Howard serenades the crowd at the opening of Ashland Days.
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TRUCKS: Festival food is a top attraction for Ashland Days festival-goers.
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KIDS: Children fish for rubber ducks in a kiddie pool at the Ashland Dayes festival, which has made strides to be more kid-friendly.

by HEATHER COX - hcox@wabashplaindealer.com

LAFONTAINE — Ashland Days returned this weekend with its tradition of elephant ears, lemon shake-ups, tractor pulls, corn royalty and flashbacks to decades past.

“We want to flashback to the festivals of old, we’re trying to do a salute to the decades of the 20th century,” said Chris Hensley, a festival committee member, “from the early days of the festival to the present day of the festival.”

Indie Piercy and her sister-in-law, Shelby, have tried to bring back the festival’s golden years.

“(We) recognized that the festival has kind of dropped in morale,” Piercy said. Piercy is herself a member of the Ashland Days planning committee and founder of the Seth Zahalka Memorial Car and Bike Show. “(We) have two young children each, and we want it to be as good as it was when we were young. Every year, that’s what we strive for is for it to get better. And every year it does get a little better.”

As part of that effort more events are tailored toward children’s interests as organizers strive to cultivate a more kid-friendly atmosphere, Piercy explained.

New to the festival this year is an obstacle course for kids created by the fire department. Piercy described the course as a kid-friendly version of department training in which kids spray makeshift houses and save teddy bears.

Festival favorites like the Seth Zahalka Memorial Car and Bike Show, pet parade, corn royalty pageant and parade were back, as were live perforamances from Brandon “Elvis” Howard, the Steele Rail Band and Wehr Rock of Elders.

Among the crowned winners in the corn royalty pageant were Charlee Crousore, Tristan Fowler, Rayne Duell, Braelyn Jones, Kycen Jones and Katelyn Hall.

Hensley said the whole point of the festival is to emphasize bringing the community together.

“It’s all about community,” he said. “We want to provide something fun and entertaining for the community, and we want to have something for the community to enjoy. We have all sorts of fun stuff during the year, but the festival and a few other events are the few things that brings this community together.”