ashland.news
June 13, 2024

Annual parade: ‘Halloween is Ashland’s thing’

A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
October 31, 2023

Children’s Halloween Parade packs Main Street through downtown

By Holly Dillemuth, Ashland.news

Ghouls, goblins and ghostbusters galore made their way through the streets of Ashland on Tuesday afternoon, kicking off spook-tacular festivities for the young and the young at heart.

The parade, which Ashland Chamber Membership and Business Development Director Dana Preston notes has no floats, instead fills the streets with kids of all ages dressed in their Halloween best, along with their friends and family. The celebration is organized by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and has been going strong since around 1990. Ashland Middle School’s band planned to play “Ghostbusters” for the celebration this year.

A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

“It’s certainly part of the fabric that is Ashland,” Preston said, of the celebration. “I think it’s something that the community really loves.”

Businesses along the “parade” (more of a group walk, really) route handed out loads of candy, with the magic words, of course, being, “trick-or-treat.”

Rachel Hallett-Ralston, left, and David Ralston pose outside 3 Magpie Antiques along the Halloween parade route on Tuesday. Ashland.news photo by Holly Dillemuth

Rachel Hallett-Ralston and her father David Ralston, dressed in wild west attire, welcomed passersby outside Ralston’s 3 Magpie Antiques. Ralston, co-owner of the antique shop, has been in Ashland since 2003.

“It’s festive,” Ralston, dressed as a cowboy, said.

Hallett-Ralston said she grew up around the business and worked there through the years.

She recently relocated to the area after living in the Bay Area for some time and commented on how special Halloween is in Ashland.

Hallett-Ralston described it as a joy and treat to be back to experience the annual parade. 

“Ashland goes above and beyond,” she said. “Halloween is Ashland’s thing.”

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “I’ve never seen a town be this expressed for Halloween.” 

A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Travel Ashland Director Katharine (left) and Grace Cato (aka “Wednesday Adams”) turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

Preston said organizers expected a large turnout this year, especially with beautiful weather hovering in the high-60’s.

“We generally see about 3,500 to 5,000 people,” Preston said.

Among the sea of people who led the group downtown was Nathan Williams and Amanda Hopkins, and their daughters Makayla and Mya. 

A family affair — Amanda Hopkins, second from left, and Nathan Williams, far right, pose with their daughters, Makayla, left, and Mya, second from right, before the parade. Ashland.news photo by Holly Dillemuth

Nathan and Makayla dressed up as ghostbusters (as in the movie, “Ghostbusters”), Mya as an astronaut and Amanda carried a plush “Slimer,” a character from the 1984 film, to round out the family’s costume.

Mya played trombone in the Ashland Middle School band, which played a familiar “Ghostbusters” tune as they marched downtown, with her parents and sister walking nearby.

A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

“We’ve been here for five years,” Hopkins said.

“We’ve been every year that they’ve had one (a parade),” she added. No parade was held in the COVID years of 2020 and 2021.

Email Ashland.news reporter Holly Dillemuth at hollyd@ashland.news.

A brief video of the Ashland Chamber’s Children’s Halloween Parade 2023. Ashland.news video by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive group from Hillside Dentistry in the Railroad District (that’s Dr. Erik Hill, second from left — third if you count the unicorn) that calls itself “Rainbow Brite & the Crew of Unicorns” turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A festive crowd turned out for the 2023 Ashland Chamber of Commerce Children’s Halloween Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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