Located in the heart of Georgia, Ashburn is the quintessential southern town with beautiful surroundings, friendly residents and a storied history. The city was founded in 1890 and named after W.W. Ashburn, an early settler who purchased a large portion of the city for just $10. In 1905, Ashburn was named the County Seat for Turner County. Agriculture was the initial industry that helped establish the town, but others followed including sheet metal production, fiberglass production, simulated stone production and more. Currently, the major industry in the area is peanut production and this has lead to Ashburn’s nickname as the “Peanut Capital of the World”.
If you’re looking for things to do, Ashburn will not disappoint. The town is a great location for outdoor enthusiasts with scenic trails, beautiful parks and diverse wildlife. Some of the outdoor activities you can enjoy in the area include hunting, fishing, hiking and golfing. Ashburn is also home to unique shops, authentic southern restaurants, and markets where you can purchase food, art and more. A trip to the city wouldn't be complete without visiting the World's Largest Peanut attraction and the Crime and Punishment Museum. Events and festivals in Ashburn, like the Fire Ant Festival, are a great way to experience the community and get to know the friendly residents.
For over two decades, the Fire Ant Festival has been the top event in the city and the entire region. Tens of thousands of people from all over the Southeast United States make their way to Ashburn for plenty of great activities. This is a family-friendly event with something for all ages. Some of the activities include live music, a fire ant calling contest, carnival, arts and crafts, a BBQ cook off and the list goes on. Let beautiful Ashburn and the Fire Ant Festival set the tone for your next big vacation. ResortsandLodges.com got the opportuntiy to interview Stevi Thompson, the President of the Ashburn Turner County Chamber of Commerece, to talk about the festival.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the festival.
ST: The Fire Ant Festival has been running for 21 years strong! The festival is very popular locally and in the surrounding communities. This year, we expect to see over 30,000 people in attendance. Held during the 4th weekend of March, Ashburn welcomes the Fire Ant Festival, not the ants themselves. Known for its wacky and “off the wall” activities, the festival offers family oriented fun for all ages. Activities include the fire ant calling contest, a giant fire ant maze, carnival, arts and crafts, fireworks, live bands, photo contest, art contest, health fair, BBQ cookoff, and much more! This is a family-friendly festival and any person who is interested should come out and join in all the fun.
RAL: What makes the festival unique?
ST: Everything from the name to the events. I think the fact that we have a professional art contest is very unique for a small festival. This is the first time that many children around here have the opportunity to see professional artworks. Each year the winning piece of art is purchased for $1000 and displayed in the Ashburn Turner County Chamber of Commerce! Also, we have recently extended our airport and this year we will be doing a “Fly-In”, with a reward going to the person who flew the furthest distance to get to the festival.
RAL: Take me through a typical day at the event.
ST: We have many activities at the festival including: a carnival, fireworks show, professional art contest, photo contest, pet parade, live music, bbq bash, fire ant calling contest, “Mantyhose” contest, car show, 5K run, live entertainment in the park, arts and crafts vendors, and more!
We usually have a few guest appearances during the festival. Elvis has been known to show up. “Blaze” the Fire Ant is always around, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse are available thanks to the Turner County Arts Council for pictures with the children.
When it comes to food, I would say typical “fair food”, but don’t forget about the world class BBQ! We are home of the Award Winning Rescue Smokers!
With all the fun things to do and the great food and performances, this is the ultimate family-friendly environment.
RAL: Tell me about the local lodging situation.
ST: We have some local options that include Days Inn, Best Western and Super 8. Due to the large amount of people coming to town for the festival, most of the rooms fill up quick. Make sure to plan in advance and don't forget to look in surrounding communities for additional lodging options.
RAL: What does this festival mean to the community.
ST: Our event is hosted by the community, and benefits members of the community. This highly anticipated event is welcomed by the local residents and they love participating in all the fun.
RAL: Why should people come to your event.
ST: It is a unique festival that we strive to add to each year. While many small festivals in the south are dying out, we continue to see steady growth.
For more information about the Fire Ant Festival, please visit their website.