Fire ants invade Ashburn - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire ants invade Ashburn

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

ASHBURN, GA (WALB) – It's festival time again around South Georgia.   And one of the earliest and most unusual festivals is in Ashburn where they celebrate the fire ant.

Why the fire ant?  We tried to ask the stars of the festival, but they seemed busy.  So we went to a human representative.

"We saw right away that the fire ant theme took off.  We could have more fun with that theme," said Shelley Zorn, President of the Ashburn/Turner County Chamber of Commerce.

Now in its 16th year, they've done some unusual things at this festival.  And that includes this year.  Like the men's panty hose competition.

"We've got 10 contestants right now.  There's no real rules.  Just get the panty hose up over your clothes as quickly as possible and don't rip or break the panty hose," said Zorn.

And the theme of the unusual extends to the food as well.  While there is a carnival with the food that you might expect, there's a bit of a twist to the snacks that are on offer.  Hungry?  Try some tasty chocolate covered fire ants.

The Fire Ant Festival is always known for it's unusual events and something that's new this year is the chance to take out your frustrations on this old clunker at 50 cents a whack.

While it all seems a bit tongue in cheek, this festival is serious business for Ashburn.

"Last year we had 25 to 30 thousand people, so that's five, six times our normal population in Ashburn," said Zorn.

For one weekend, the city becomes a real destination for people from far and wide.

Zorn said, "we've had people from Canada, Alaska, Alabama, Florida, all over the country.">

While fire ants may not seem worthy of a festival, they are at least common around the area.  Even the organizers have had to deal with them.

"One year during the festival, here at the Chamber, our air conditioner quit working.  So we called the guy in and it was fire ants," said Zorn.

But for one weekend at least, they'll be welcome in one South Georgia city.  In Ashburn, Jay Polk WALB News 10.

For a full list of all of the events - both normal and unusual - you can go to their website.

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