Two years ago, the Abington Celebrates Committee successfully brought the fireworks back to Abington, after a long hiatus, making the display the capstone of the annual Founders Day/Flag Day weekend. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, the fireworks have been extinguished until June 2021.
“We are disappointed we cannot have the fireworks in Abington this year,” said Doug Ulwick, Abington Celebrates’ Event Coordinator. “We did look at many different avenues to try and make it happen, but it didn’t pan out.”
The committee had kept its hopes up, and was exploring other options, such as moving the fireworks portion of the event until the fall. However, one obstacle was the remaining unknown of having any form of a crowd in one area. In addition, after conferring with the Abington Fire Chief about the seasonal timing and location of the display, the committee felt it socially responsible to reschedule the fireworks until June 2021.
“The location we traditionally have the fireworks is very close in proximity to the cemetery and woodland areas along the Shumatuscacant River,” said Fire Chief John Nuttall. “This is one of the very few areas large enough to hold the crowd, and has the minimal space required for the launching of the fireworks themselves. Typically, some burning embers fall to the ground, and can create a fire hazard.
“The time of year we normally have this event, in early June, still has most of the vegetation green, alive and full of moisture, which helps to lower the extent of fire growth. If we were to allow the fireworks later in August or September, this vegetation normally dries out, browns, and becomes much more flammable. Later in the fall, we will have a blanket of combustible leaves on the forest floor, which easily spread fires from any burning embers which may fall onto the ground.”
“Because of these concerns, I informed the Abington Celebrates Committee of my concerns, and the extreme unlikelihood of the Fire Department permitting the fireworks at the later dates,” Nuttall said. “As disappointing as this information is, our main concern is for the safety of the spectators, workers and firefighters.”
Nancy Reid, a member of the Abington Celebrates Committee, said the music and fun that everyone enjoys will return.
“We all just have to be patient and wait another year,” she said.
Abington Celebrates’ core group is made up of members from the Board of Selectmen, the Abington Summer Concerts Committee, the Historical Society of Old Abington and the Jeffrey Coombs Foundation. It works with Abington businesses, fraternal organizations, churches, and nonprofits to coordinate three town-wide, free, family oriented celebrations. In addition to Flag Day/Founders’ Day, Oktoberfest celebrations are held the weekend after Columbus Day and Christmas at Island Grove is celebrated the second weekend in December.
Michele Christian, Abington Celebrates’ Public Outreach Coordinator, thanked all those businesses and individuals who had generously donated to the fireworks this year.
“Rest assured those funds will be applied to next year’s show on the second week of June 2021,” she said. “As in the past, we will plan for a great show for Abington.”
Abington Celebrates is moving ahead with plans for Oktoberfest, which is currently scheduled the weekend after Columbus Day, October 17-19. The committee has a number of events planned for that weekend which include the second annual Pumpkin Point at Island Grove which was a big success last year. The town-wide, free event included a carved jack-o-lantern contest, family movie night, and wish lanterns in the pool.
“Hopefully, things will be back to normal next year, and the celebrations can continue without these concerns, for the enjoyment of all,” added Chief Nuttall. “Our community of Abington will certainly be in a mood to be celebrating together again.”
For more information visit Abington Celebrates on Facebook.
(Written by Michele Christian. Christian is the Public Outreach Coordinator for Abington Celebrates)