June 30th, 2015 12:15 pm

Rotary Club of the Abingtons

Eileen Christian

The annual grand celebration of our nation’s independence will begin this weekend when the Rotary Club of the Abingtons presents an amazing display of fireworks at the Abington Heights Middle School grounds in Clarks Summit on Friday, July 3.

When dark descends upon us, the sky will explode in lights of all colors above. Some families will sit in cars and trucks to watch the phenomena. Others will spread blankets and unfold chairs and relax in the night air. All will be there to just have a good time. You will hear “Oooohs” and “Aaaahs” from the hillsides as we watch the wonder of the sky.

Hours before the fireworks begin, the middle school grounds will come alive with fun activities.

At 6:30 p.m. the opening band, Nothing Yet, will feature Justin Kucharski on rhythm guitar, Evan Collins on bass and Brandon Rodriquez as lead guitar. Their music takes on the past with songs from the Beatles era and brings you to today’s music with selections from Pharrell Williams and others. The Phyllis Hopkins Electric Trio will bring original music as well as familiar sounds. Phyllis is well known to area music lovers with her mix of blues-based vocals. She is also featured on guitar and is backed by drummer Julio Caprari, guitarist Ray DelPriore and bassist Nolan Ayers.

The Quietmen will be our headline act. This Scranton-based group features Jamie Ratchford playing guitar, harmonica and kazoo. Paddy Ratchford is on keyboard and bodhrain. Danny Ratchford plays guitar while Mollie Malone, called the Quietgirl, plays tin whistle and fiddle. Paul Hurst is on drums and Marty Nazar will do guest vocal and play guitar. They will be joined for guest vocals by Teddy Bryan. Their music takes them well beyond the Northeast as they mix rock with Celtic music, making a unique presentation for our night of celebration.

The show’s live entertainment is supported by the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board and the Overlook Foundation.

Our quality of food has increased this year with new food vendors and new food trucks.

Manning’s Mobile brings our well-known local hard ice cream to us. The Abington Lions Club will serve traditional holiday fare with hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and funnel cakes. Ethnic foods will be covered by Mike Yogi’s stand with potato pancakes, halushki and pierogies. Every fare must have pizza and that will come from Pizza by Fire. Tony Thomas Catering will serve up sausage and peppers and fries. Webby’s Concessions will feature fried Oreos. Our own Rotary Club will serve drinks. Many food trucks have reserved their favorite spots on the grounds.

Kids coming? The Sir Bounce-a-Lot will have a bouncy house. A children’s slide and obstacle course, as well as a water balloon game will return this year.

The Joseph W. Hart Memorial Auxiliary of the Clarks Summit Fire Co. will be on hand to give information on fire protection.

This year’s fund raising efforts by the Rotary Club were increased because of new insurance needs. We are grateful for each sponsor who helped us raise this money. If you would like to help us, send your donation to the Rotary Club of the Abingtons at P.O. Box 392, Clarks Summit, PA 18411.

When my husband Bill Christian first began the fireworks with a few friends and a dedicated family, we naively had no lights, no bathrooms, no one helping to park cars.

But we did have spirit.

Bands played and we sold food that we had cooked. Before the first fireworks took off, some questioned, “who would go to a small town for fireworks?” They added that Clarks Summit would not be a destination place to celebrate the Fourth of July. Wrong, all wrong.

This year, my daughter, Susan, will come from Florida and she will bring her very new husband, a man from the Netherlands, to see the Clarks Summit fireworks.

She said, “To get the real feel of Independence Day, a small town shows the greatest American spirit.”

They will join other members of my family as we lay out our blankets on the grass and view the night sky, just as we did some 30 years ago when it all began.

Eileen Christian is a member of the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. Reach The Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at news@s24528.p831.sites.pressdns.com.