Once upon a time there was a town called Ashland where lots of different people lived.
There were rich people and poor people, and young people and old people.
There were college students, artists, teachers, store owners, and politicians living there.
There were very serious people and people who liked to joke and laugh.
There were some people who had lived their whole lives in Ashland, and there were new people who had only moved to town recently.
Sometimes all these different people had a hard time agreeing on things. Some people wanted more shops in town, and some liked it the way it was. Some people wanted more sidewalks in town, and some didn’t. When the people of Ashland disagreed, they would write letters to the editor or put signs in their yards. Often, they would go to a Town Council meeting to tell the Mayor about their opinion.
But one day, all these different people of Ashland realized that their town was about to have a birthday. A big birthday; the town of Ashland was turning one hundred and fifty years old. It was hard to even imagine that many candles! Everyone was very excited and formed committees that began to plan celebrations that would last the entire year. Every month there was some kind of event, which always included a cake and singing: "Happy Birthday dear Ashland....".
In January, Betty Carol Stevens gave a lecture at the town library about other towns in the United States named Ashland. In February, the town celebrated Black History Month with a visit from L. Douglas Wilder, the mayor of Richmond, and music at Randolph-Macon College. In March, people celebrated by running in the Ashland Railroad Run.
In April people celebrated by planting trees on Arbor Day.
May was an especially busy month: there was a photograph taken of all the people who had lived in Ashland for more than fifty years, a special bicycle cruise was organized along the town streets, and the first Street Party of the summer was held behind the library.
In June, as the summer heat was beginnning to arrive, the Strawberry Faire was held in the shady streets of the College.
July was always a fun month in the town of Ashland because the people loved to celebrate the 4th of July with a parade and a town picnic on the lawn of the Arts and Activities Center.
August gave the people of Ashland cool evenings listening to the Bluemont Concert Series under the stars and theater performances by the children of the town.
In September school started again, the Tiger Trot was run, and everyone began rehersing for the big celebration in October.
All the people agreed that the party in October was a huge success. There were four marching bands that paraded down Henry Street to the football field, the children of the town sang the Town Song- "Ashland, Ashland", and everyone sang Happy Birthday.
There were exhibits on the history of Ashland, photographs of long ago, and a theatrical performance of the history of Ashland. There was even a birthday present for the town- a beautiful clock for the train station. There were games for the children and birthday cake for everyone. Everyone went home happy and tired.
Thanksgiving came, and the different people of Ashland gathered around their tables with families and friends. People cheered for the Holiday Parade as it marched through town on a cold afternoon, and December brought Christmas with school plays and lights decorating almost every house.
The last day of the year came and as people waited for 2009 to begin, they thought about the old year. They thought about how proud they were to be an "Ashlander". How lucky, how honored. They shouted "Happy New Year" to their neighbors and tucked their children into bed. All the people of Ashland realized that even though they were different, they had a wonderful year together. All the people of Ashland realized that in one way they were very much the same: they loved their sweet town. Together they all lived happily ever after. The End.