Gail Walls, a member of the local merchants’ association, said the monument attracts visitors from all over the country. Even actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis of “That ’70s Show” fame snapped a selfie with the monument in 2014.
“Occasionally, we’ll see where celebrities stop and have their picture made,” Walls said. “They may post it somewhere saying that they were at the [world’s] largest peanut.”
But Ashburn's quirky fame does not end with the monument. On the last full weekend of every March, the city hosts the Fire Ant Festival (fireantfestival.com), which features live music, a lip sync contest, a barbecue cook-off, a professional art show and other standard carnival attractions.
Walls, who also serves as the Fire Ant Festival committee treasurer, said the festival was dreamed up over 20 years ago as another way to promote the local economy. The members gathered ideas by attending various festivals all over the state, and came up with the fire ant motif to poke fun at a common pest problem.
The festival incorporates a new theme every year. Past themes have included “Fire Ant 500,” a race car theme, and “Star Trek Ant-erprise.” The theme for the 2018 festival is “Fire Ant Luau.”
The monument and festival attract out-of-towners to the city, which is located about 160 miles south of Atlanta.
“We’re very proud of both of them,” Walls said.
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