Ashland, Mass. | Travel | Smithsonian

Ashland, Mass.

Halfway between Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts

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This town, lying about half-way between Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, has a tradition of active community volunteerism that is demonstrated at summer park concerts where a local charity regularly sells food to raise funds, another sells "chances", and yet another may sponsor ice cream for all, while people enjoy a concert that may well be partially sponsored by local businesses, the local cultural council, and/or town funds. There is an annual Ashland Day, primarily targeted at families with small children, which has its share of charities selling things and food, a pie eating contest, honoring of senior citizens, and "rides". Private groups have formed to aid the public library, the council on aging, and efforts at conservation. The local, independent, all-volunteer historical society will celebrate its 100th anniversary this May (2009). But, there is an event each autumn, just before Thanksgiving, that should be documented as "community" at its best. The parents of the 4th graders in the public school donate, cook and serve a full Thanksgiving dinner to which all the residents over age 60 are invited and celebrate together. It is magic.

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