ASHLAND, Ky. — Ready for some summer fun?
Summer Motion has five full days of activities beginning Friday night in Central Park.
The first three days of the festival will be in the picturesque park setting with a variety of food vendors, local musical entertainment, a car show, a Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby, a Basketball Skills Challenge, carnival rides, craft and specialty booths and a watermelon eating contest.
“We have a little something for everyone,” said Sheila Fraley, a co-chairman with Ruby Deerfield for the second year in a row.
The Summer Motion 10K will also take off again at 8 a.m. Saturday with a trip across the Ohio River as part of the course.
Fraley said the 10K had its share of hurdles this time around, but she was glad they were able to pull it off.
The popular race usually attracts more than 200 runners to the downtown streets.
“Our longtime committee member retired from doing the race and it took some time to identify somebody to take on that large project,” she said.
Two volunteers from the Ashland YMCA have taken on the task, Fraley said.
Preregistration for the race is available online at tristateracer.com, or runners can sign up on Friday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the YMCA. You can also register on raceday around 7:30 a.m. in front of the Boyd County Public Library.
“We know a lot of people enjoy the race, so it’s good that we’re having it,” she said.
The 6.2-mile course changed a little, with runners not going down Winchester Avenue quite as far. It will be well-marked and volunteers will be guiding runners along the course.
Gates on Friday open at 4 p.m., Saturday at 9 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The attention turns to the Port of Ashland on Monday and Tuesday with concerts.
Contemporary Christian artist Matthew West is the headliner on Monday and country music act Lonestar will be playing on the Fourth of July.
Last year, Fraley and Deerfield decided to try a gospel night with Jeremy Camp and he entertained thousands.
“We’ve gotten a lot of good, positive feedback from the artists we picked,” Fraley said. “People are thanking us for having them.”
West is a four-time Grammy nominee, a multiple ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year winner, Dove Award recipient, K-LOVE Fan Award winner and Billboard’s Hot Christian Songwriter of the Year in 2016.
Cedar and Cypress, a music duo from Orlando, Florida, will play before West on Monday starting at 7:30 p.m. He will come on around 8:45 p.m.
On Tuesday, Kelsie May sings at 7 p.m. and a patriotic program honoring all branches of service takes place at 8 p.m. before Lonestar takes the stage at 9 p.m.
Lonestar has been around for more than 20 years and has released several Platinum-selling albums and 10 No. 1 singles. It has earned ACM and CMA awards.
After Lonestar performs, the fireworks launch at 10:15 p.m.
“We think it’s going to be a terrific five days,” Fraley said.
Local talent will be performing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the park.
“We’re excited to be back in the park for three days,” Fraley said. “We know how much people enjoy spending time there.”
The “Mountain Monsters” will have a meet and greet on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Mountain Monsters” is a documentary television series on Destination America that began its fifth season in April. The series follows the Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings team, a band of six native West Virginia hunters and trappers, as they research and find evident of unidentified creatures in the Appalachian mountains.
Fraley said she and Deerfield have worked well together again, sharing the load that comes with the job.
“With social media anymore, you get instant feedback,” she said. “Some of it is negative, but you try to overlook that. Would we like to have more and bigger names? Sure, but it’s all sponsor driven. We have to watch our budget and do the best thing for the festival.”
Summer Motion has stayed well within its budget under Fraley and Deerfield.
“We have a great committee that does a lot of the work,” Fraley said. “Ruby and I do what we can to help keep it organized. We learn from our mistakes and hope to do better the next time.”