Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8/12/10 Wonderful WIlly Wonka, Third Bluemont Concert, 1950 August Wedding, New YMCA


One of the biggest joys is showing this town to someone who’s never experienced it before. My father, step-mother, and sister came to the matinee performance of “Willy Wonka” at the Arts & Activities Center this past Sunday and were thoroughly impressed. They couldn’t believe the level of volunteer participation (the number of COTU volunteers is an anomaly). They were awed at the number of kids in the production; my father said, “It’s a cast of thousands!” And, very astutely, my step-mother noted that “all the kids in Ashland are so good-looking!”

So thank you Lorie Foley and Mary Kay Thompson for giving me something to brag about! Thank you Lynne for the choreography that made those kids “oompa-loompa” across the stage, and to Chris McKelvy for all the costumes! There are so many people who worked on the set, who helped corral kids backstage, who put on make-up, who helped sell tickets and DVDs. Thank you to Kathy Abbot for filming and editing those DVDs! And thank you to the Hanover Arts and Activity Center- all good things begin there in Ashland.

It’s a busy August! This Sunday is the third Bluemont Concert on the front lawn of the Arts & Activities Center (see what I mean?) beginning at 7pm. Bring your lawn chair or picnic blanket and listen to the Guy Mendilow Band who’ll bring their own style of Middle Eastern and South American street blues. What a wonderful way to listen to music from across the world without crossing the tracks! Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids under 12.

Sixty years ago this Sunday, in 1950, Glenn & Jean Williams of Slash Cottage were married in the August heat. Glenn is a retired Methodist minister and an R-MC alumna. He and Jean are members of Duncan Memorial where there will be a special reception on Sunday. We need to send out get well wishes to Glenn as he is having surgery this week, but we’re hopeful that he’ll be feeling good for the reception. Congratulations to both of them for making a long and happy life together!

Have you been to our new YMCA lately? What was once divided is now united, and there is no more Wet Y vs. Dry Y! We have everything in one location! I’ve heard lots of good things about our new facility, so stop by and take a look.

Before your kids go back to school, take them to Scotchtown this Saturday to see what school was like in the 18th century! This second Hands on History Saturday will feature costumed interpreters who will show kids what school was like for Patrick Henry. Also this Saturday, the Backyard Players of Scothtown and the South Anna 4H will present a period play for their debut performance at noon and 2pm on the lawn. Scotchtown is located just 11 miles west of Ashland. Call 227-3500 for more information.

Have you done your back-to-school shopping? Me neither. I’m not doing it until September. It is still August; it is still summer, and Labor Day will be here too soon. Wear white everyday. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 804-310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a scrumdidlyumptious week!

8/4/10 Theater Camp Spectacular Showcase, Willy Wonka Performances, Farmer's Market, Patrick Henry Half Marathon




Here is one of the reasons that I love this town. Just when I am becoming complacent- when I no longer notice the trains, or when the business of life dulls my vision- along comes an event to remind me of what a special place we have here.

This past Friday night we got to see a showcase of everything that the kids had been working on at the Arts & Activities Center’s Theater Camp. Standing outside, waiting for the doors to open, all I could think about were chores & work: the things done and the things left undone. Inside the lights dimmed and Roy Horn started playing the piano as our children, dressed as orphans, sang the song “Maybe” from “Annie.” It made me sit up in my seat, and smile through tears in my eyes. They were so dear, so precious that I wanted to freeze the moment and keep them all like this forever. It was bitter-sweet to think that they would all grow up one day and lose that spontaneous joy that children have.



So, in order to strengthen your faith in the future, in children, in small towns, and in volunteers, come to the show. This weekend is the only weekend that the Arts & Activities Center’s Theater Camp will perform “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” You do not need to have children in the play. You do not need to live in Ashland. You could be a stranger, passing through town, and watching this play will lift your spirits in a way that few things can.




Downtown Ashland is a hub of activity on Saturday mornings! From live music at the Coffee and Tea, to the ever-growing Farmer’s Market, it is THE place to be. The Farmer’s Market brings local produce, meats, eggs, and plants to Town Hall every Saturday from 9 am to noon. Get there early to pick up blackberries, late tomatoes, corn and butter beans.




Have you seen all the runners around town on the weekends? They’re training for the Patrick-Henry Half Marathon that will be held on Saturday, August 28th. This 13.1 mile race starts and ends at Poor Farm Park, and winds its way through our sweet town. Sign up to run in this race which benefits our YMCA, or come out to cheer on the runners. You can find more information at www.raceit.com/register/?event=836.




It was almost chilly last weekend for our first Bluemont Concert, but didn’t we love the change in the weather? This Sunday brings The Taters to the front lawn of the Arts and Activities Center. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs and come listen to music under the stars. Tickets are $5 per person, and kids 12 and under are $2 each. It is the perfect way to end a weekend.




Stay young and beautiful, Sweet Town. I want to remember you like this always- in your summer clothes, dancing, singing, and laughing with your friends. Hold it close in your hands, and enjoy the only August of the year. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, Ashlandnews@gmail.com . Have a lovely week! Xo, Meriwether