ASHLAND, Ky — The force will awaken Friday in downtown Ashland.
Ashland’s popular monthly celebration First Friday will celebrate the iconic “Star Wars” saga.
“Star Wars” Night, from 5 to 9 p.m., will feature choreographed lightsaber performances and demonstrations by the local lightsaber theatrical group the Imperial Legion.
Attendees will learn how to fight like Jedi or Sith and may purchase raffle tickets for the opportunity to win “Star Wars” gear. Imperial Legion activities will take place on Judd Plaza.
The raffle is $1 per entry or six entries for $5. Featured raffle items have been donated by Superhero Creamery and Time Warp Games and Collectibles. Proceeds will benefit The Ashland Drop, a division of Pathways designed to benefit local youth who have, or are at risk of developing, behavioral health challenges.
First Friday attendees are also encouraged to dress as their favorite “Star Wars” characters and participate in a “Star Wars”-themed costume contest.
The costume contest offers two age divisions: birth through 12 and 13 through adult. The costume contest will be at 7 p.m. on the main stage in front of the Ashland Plaza Hotel. Prizes will be awarded in both categories.
The Imperial Legion is a performance-based martial arts and live action role-playing organization. The group meets weekly to train in “Star Wars” lightsaber forms and welcomes new members. For more information, search “ImperialLegionPublic” on Facebook.
June’s First Friday will also feature live music by Outrider on the main stage. Several downtown venues will also feature live music. Estate Thirty3 Vinyl at 213 16th St. will feature The Underclassmen and open-mic night; Kentucky Residential Arts and Music at 224 15th St. will have a performance by Of the Dell; and Rhythm & Relics in the Camayo Arcade will host live acoustic performances.
The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center will offer a discounted First Friday admission of $3, as well as a special activity.
The Ashland Pickleball Club will be outside the museum in the 1600 block of Winchester Avenue, hosting pickleball games. The sport combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
June’s First Friday will kick off a year of events leading up to the exhibit “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” which will be on display at the museum in the spring.
“Hometown Teams” is a Smithsonian Institution exhibit the museum was chosen to host because of the community’s rich sports history and heritage.
This week’s event will provide extended downtown shopping hours and children’s activities, including inflatables sponsored by BC Tool and Party Rental. The cost is $5 per child.
First Friday will also celebrate the grand opening of the First Friday Beer Garden. The activity is co-hosted by Fat Patty’s and will be next door to the restaurant on 15th Street.
The Beer Garden will highlight live music and will feature a special First Friday drink menu, including domestics, craft beers and specialty drinks.
Classic Car Show
Ashland in Motion, along with this year’s Classic Car Show host, the Coalition for the Cure of Parkinson’s Disease, invite classic car owners to show off their vintage vehicles and connect with other area enthusiasts.
Participants will park their vehicles in the designated event area after 3 p.m. Show participants are asked to make $5 donations in support of both nonprofit organizations. A donation registers a vehicle and enters the owner into a prize drawing.
The coalition’s mission is to create “hope for a cure,” creating outlets not only for raising research funds, but serving as a spiritual and educational support system for families dealing with the disease.
The group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information, visit ccpdky.org/.
For more information about First Friday and other upcoming AIM events, visit ashlandinmotion.org/.