Monday, September 5, 2022

Ashland Residents Keep ABA Spirit Alive

A group of residents refuse to let the spirit of the Ashland Boys Association Parade fade into a memory.

For over 100 years, Ashland was the place to be on Labor Day weekend for the annual ABA Parade that was held each year that Saturday.

The parade was a tribute to the tradition that began over 100 years prior when the men that worked in the mines would return home for Labor Day weekend.

The population of Ashland grew by the thousands for the parade each year when people from Schuylkill County and the surrounding areas, and even from across the country, would descend on the borough and line the streets to celebrate.

The parade would typically begin around 7:30pm and last for approximately 3 hours as it traveled up Walnut Street to 21st Street, then down Centre Street.

In 2000, the parade celebrated its 100th edition, but due to declining in volunteers, the 2008 edition of parade would prove to be the last big party.

Attempts the revive the parade over the next few years would prove to be difficult and even in 2013, the unveiling of a historical marker would give some hope to parade goers, but organizers would still face the same issues.

Fast forward to 2022, the parade only remains a memory, but a group of Ashland residents continue the spirit of ABA.

This past Saturday, a party was held near the intersection of Spruce Street and 1st Street at the Scott home.  This area of town was a popular spot during the parades heyday because this is where floats and bands would start and end their parade route.

Approximately 100 people celebrated Saturday as the sounds of saxophones, banjos, and accordions could be heard from Mummers music playing in the background.  There were even several dressed in full mummers garb.

A group of party goers would eventually parade around the lower end of the borough and travel to the Mother's Memorial happily shouting "Happy ABA!" and posing for photos near the statue.

While the parade has ended, these residents refuse to let it die, with hope maybe one it will return in all it's glory.