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ASHBURN - Ashburn will be infested with pests again this weekend as the town presents its annual Fire Ant Festival, complete with fire ant mounds, the release of fire ant-eating flies and an appearance by the ghost of an ant queen.

Events began Thursday with the Little Miss/Junior Miss Fire Ant Pageant, sponsored by the Ashburn Women's Club at the Turner County Civic Center.

Last night's activities included fireworks and a drive-in movie, and today's events will kick off at 8 a.m. with a 5K fun run beginning at the Alternate School on East College Avenue.

There will be a health fair and an art show at the Alternate School gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a photo contest at the Thrasher House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entertainment events at Heritage Park will open at 10 a.m. with the national anthem, presentation of colors and a tribute to men and women in the armed forces followed by a white dove release. A pet parade will be held immediately after the dove release.

Entertainers playing at the park during the day include Don Dove and Flashback, The Rose Band, Turner Twirlers, Ocmulgee Cowboys, Silver Buckle Dancers, Hugh Hardy and Doster Fitzgerald, Southern Shufflers, the Chehaw Park Animal Show, Carlie Fortson, Lil Farmer, Pauline Taylor Hunt, Theotis Taylor and White Wolf Clan.

A street dance featuring Silver Eagle will be held at the park at 8 p.m.

The midway will open at 10 a.m. with vendors, a moonwalk, the fire ant express, fire safety house and a carnival at TCES Field.

Other activities planned during the day include a poker run at 11 a.m., car/bike judging from 1 to 3 p.m.; a fire ant calling contest at 1:30 p.m. at Heritage Park; a strawberry cookoff at 5:30 p.m. at the Thrasher House; and the first-ever Fire Ant Jam from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the park.

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