By Michele Christian
Abington is ready to celebrate! After a two-year hiatus, the Abington Celebrates committee has announced that fireworks are returning to Abington as part of the Abington Celebrates Community Weekend events on September 18th and 19th. The committee, in conjunction with the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation, have put together a weekend of traditional and new community events to both celebrate and remember.
“The notion of bringing the community together for the weekend of the last running of the Jeff Coombs Road Race provided both inspiration and opportunity,” said Doug Ulwick, Abington Celebrates Event Coordinator.
On Saturday, Sept. 18, the Abington Celebrates Committee is hosting an “Abington Celebrates Community” field day event at Memorial Field, behind the Frolio School. Sept 19 will be the rain date.
The fun begins at 5 p.m. and will include food, field games, a beer garden, a Giving and Caring table which will be accepting new sock donations for the homeless, a 50/50 raffle, music by the band REWIND sponsored by the Abington Summer Concerts committee, and many more fun activities with the help of local organizations. Abington Celebrates merchandise will also be available for purchase.
At 8 p.m. the highly anticipated fireworks show by Atlas Pyrovision promises a spectacular display that will illuminate and shake the night sky above Abington.
“I think we were all starting to get a case of fireworks withdrawal after the plague forced the cancellation of our Flag Day/Founder’s Day Fireworks for June of 2020 and 2021,” said Ulwick.
On Sunday, Sept. 19 is the “20th and Final Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race, Walk and Family Fun Day”. The event begins at 9 a.m. at Woodsdale Elementary School. In addition to the traditional road race there will be a DJ, free food, raffles, awards, beer tent, Joe’s Craz-zy Critters and more.
Participants can register online at www.racewire.com.
The event is also a time of reflection for the community to pay tribute to those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, those who have given their all for our country, as well as a way to pay it forward with kindness.
“So many people ask if the 20th anniversary feels any different,” said Christie Coombs. “The truth is, it doesn’t. It’s just another year we’re without Jeff, and another year farther away from the tragic day that changed our nation and changed our lives, making it easier for people to forget.
“That’s why it’s important to gather as a community to honor and remember those who died that day, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice since then while serving our country. There are also too many first responders and construction workers dying from lung disease as a result of their work at Ground Zero. They deserve to be remembered as well.”
“It’s a time to pause and pay tribute, and be grateful for the support we’ve received over the years, both for my family and the Jeff Coombs Foundation,” added Coombs.
“As we plan for the 20th Anniversary and our 20th and Final Road Race, I often get emotional, knowing it’s the right time to end the road race, but also knowing it’s going to be difficult to usher it across the finish line. It’s been a big part of our lives, and a huge event for Abington. I’m still hoping another organization will adopt it and make it their own.”
Although the road race is ending for Coombs, the Foundation is still going strong.
“As for the foundation, our work isn’t done. It looks like it’s going to be a record-breaking fundraising year, so we can do so much to help those who need it. I hope people will come out and spend the morning with us to honor and remember, but also to enjoy all the activities and help us send off the road race in style, and raise a lot of money,” said Coombs.
“On the anniversary of 9/11, I ask anyone who can to do an act of kindness in memory of those who died. It is an official day of service and remembrance — the best way to honor the day is through service or random acts of kindness. You never know who’s lives you might touch.”
Many local groups, businesses and organizations have joined to be part of both the Abington Celebrates and Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race events.
“We thank our community partners and sponsors for jumping in to make this hometown event a reality. In addition, a special thank you to the Abington Police, Fire, Public Works and Health departments who make possible all that we do,” added Ulwick.