BALLOONFEST This Ashland tradition should be an obvious choice. The famous event kicks off today at 4 p.m. with an award-winning barbecue by Pigfoot Backyard BBQ. Opening ceremonies start at 6:15 p.m. The Balloon Glow Encounter is at 8:15 p.m. and the Ashland Times Gazette’s Balloon Glow, an interactive display as hot air balloons line the launch field and glow against the night sky, choreographed to music, is at 9:15 p.m. These Balloon Glows will also continue at the same times on Friday and Saturday. For the full schedule of events this weekend, visit

BAND SHELL Tonight, Celtic group NESSA, led by multi-instrumentalists Kelly McDermott and Rob Crozier, will perform at 8 p.m. at the Myers Memorial Band Shell. The group has been described as mystical, energetic and global. And don't forget to come out Sunday when Maestro Arie Lipsky conducts the Ashland Symphony Orchestra's "Pops in the Park" concert, celebrating Independence Day with the Ashland Area Chorus and Battery D the first Ohio Light Artillery Co. to lead the 1812 Overture at 8 p.m. Plus, the USAF Band of Flight will play "everything from Bach to the Beatles and beyond" on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Band Shell in a third free concert this coming week.

FIREWORKS The Rotary Club's Fun, Food, & Fireworks at Community Stadium will kick off with the band Just One Look, a Linda Ronstadt cover band, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The next band, Out of Eden, an Eagles cover band, begins its first set at 8:45 p.m. and will also play after the fireworks, which start around 9:45 p.m. The stadium will be accessible at 5 p.m.

ICE CREAM SOCIAL The Ashland County Historical Society will host this annual event from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. It includes ice cream, homemade cake and lemonade. There will be self-guided tours through all of the buildings, and special musical entertainment by the Odds and Ends Band, the Mansfield Dulcimers and the Golden Serenaders of the Ashland Senior Citizen Center. The Senior Citizen Center also will provide chair caning demonstrations in the gazebo. The Manor House will be filled with items for the silent auction that have been donated by local merchants, businesses and individuals, along with the cash and carry tables. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome.

PERRYSVILLE HOMESTEAD FESTIVAL The Perrysville Homestead Festival is today through Saturday on Bridge Street. All of the events are free. The festival runs from 5-10 p.m. tonight and Friday and on Saturday from 10 a.m. -10 p.m. and includes food, music and games. Check out our Out & About section for a full schedule of events.