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Winter Wonderland of Lights

Nov. 12, 2012 @ 11:05 PM

ASHLAND -- When Katie Turner sees the 850,000 lights that are part of Ashland's Winter Wonderland of Lights, it makes her happy.

Turner, 9, a fourth grader at Charles Russell Elementary, likes the light display of the Eiffel Tower the best.

"I want to see it in real life," she said.

"We just love the lights," said Katie's mom, Billie Turner, of Ashland.

Dozens of people were on hand Monday night for the 24th annual opening night program of Winter Wonderlands of Lights.

"We come to this every year," said Tina Corey of Ashland. "It starts the Christmas season."

Her youngest daughter, 1-year-old Izabella, helped turn on the lights that are on display around Ashland's Central Park.

The light displays will be on from dusk to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from dusk to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, said Marion Russell, Winter Wonderland of Lights chairman. The Christmas light display will burn through Jan. 6, Russell said.

"It means having Christmas for six weeks," he said.

While there aren't any new displays this year, most of the committee's efforts have been converting the lights to LEDs, Russell said, with about 95 percent done.

Robert Fugitt of Ashland said he's been coming to the light display for years. He and his wife, Ida, like to walk around the park to see the decorations.

Santa Claus also made a stop by the bandstand in the park for the ceremony. Gina Sexton of Ashland stood in line to allow her children, Brooklyn, 9, and Levi, 5, to get a chance to talk to Santa. "We try to come to this every year," she said.

For her part, Brooklyn already had her Christmas ready for the man in the red and white suit.

"I want a Monster High doll," she said. "And I want all kinds of money."

A number of other Christmas activities are planned in the coming weeks. The annual Ashland Christmas parade is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Winter Wonderland Express Train Rides around the park start Friday. They are available from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 16-18, Nov. 23-25, Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, Dec. 7-9, Dec. 14-16, Dec. 21 and 22. The cost is $3.

Visits and pictures with Santa also are scheduled for the same dates, at the Central Park Log House.

"It definitely puts you in the Christmas spirit," outgoing Mayor Tom Kelley of the opening ceremony.

Music was provided by the South Ashland United Methodist Church choir, the Jeff Carter Group and Michael Reeves sang the National Anthem.

Ashland is planning to stay in the Christmas spirit with its Winter Wonderland of Lights Festival annual Christmas Parade to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, in downtown Ashland.

It's not too late to register to participate in the parade. Application forms and the rules may be obtained online at www.winterwonderlandoflights.com or on Facebook, or by calling the Ashland Alliance Chamber of Commerce at 606-324-5111. They can also be picked up at the office at 1730 Winchester Ave. or received by emailing paulam@inicity.net.

The last day to register is Nov. 13.

The line-up location for fire trucks and emergency vehicles will be on 17th Street between Central and Carter avenues. High school band buses will turn onto 16th Street from Central Avenue and proceed to Winchester Avenue.

For additional information, contact Mayo at 606-324-5111.

2012 Christmas parades

HUNTINGTON: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29. Route is on 4th Avenue from 13th Street to 8th Street then to Pullman Square for tree lighting.

ASHLAND: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 20. Downtown, primarily Winchester Avenue.

IRONTON: 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26. Downtown.

HURRICANE: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Downtown.

RUSSELL: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6. Clinton Street.

POINT PLEASANT: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. Main Street.




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