CLARKS SUMMIT — Thousands of people gather annually on the grounds of the Abington Heights Middle School to experience the Rotary Club of the Abingtons’ Independence Day celebration and fireworks display, as the event grows bigger and better each year.
The 2015 event, scheduled to open at 5 p.m. Friday, July 3, promises attendees an even bigger “bang” for their five bucks.
The most noticeable upgrade to this year’s celebration, according to co-organizer and Rotarian John Hambrose, is in the layout of the venue. In 2014 the bandstand was stationed on the side lawn against the school building, with the food trucks — and the majority of the foot traffic — lined up in the distant parking lot. This year, however, both attractions will share a centralized location.
“What we’re hoping to do is create a midway, with the food trucks and the bands and the people,” he said.
“With these kind of events, I think you need to try and do something different every year to keep them fresh and keep people coming. So every year we try to do something different and we try to find new vendors.”
The live entertainment will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the fireworks display at nightfall. Admission is free and a parking fee of $5 per vehicle, regardless of how many people each occupies, helps offset the cost of the event. For safety reasons, parking is prohibited on Newton Ransom Boulevard.
Live entertainment is supported by the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board and the Overlook Foundation.
The Quietmen, a Scranton-based band that mixes rock ‘n’ roll with Celtic music, will headline the show. Also on the lineup is the blues-based Phyllis Hopkins Electric Trio. And opening is up-and-coming local band Nothing Yet, which performs rock hits from the past and present from bands such as the Beatles, the Turtles, Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Black Keys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Some of this year’s food vendors, with more to be announced, include Manning’s Mobile, with hard ice cream, milk shakes and chocolate milk; Abington Lions Club, with funnel cakes, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, potato pancakes and soft drinks; Mike Yogi’s Ethnic Foods, with potato pancakes, halushki, pierogies, lemonade and soft drinks; Pizza by Fire, with wood-oven baked pizza; Tony Thomas Catering, with French fries, sausage and peppers, chicken fingers, lemonade and root beer floats; Webby’s Concessions, with funnel cakes, fried Oreos and soft drinks and the Rotary Club of the Abingtons, with soft drinks.
Children’s activities include a bounce house, slide and obstacle course, water games and more.
The Joseph W. Hall Memorial Auxiliary to the Clarks Summit Fire Co. Inc. will also host a fundraising and membership booth during the event.
In all, Hambrose said the Rotary Club of the Abingtons includes more than 50 members, almost all of whom help out in some form with the annual celebration. Local fire companies, police departments, municipalities and other civic organizations also contribute, whether through volunteer help, monetary donations or other aspects.
“It’s true Americana,” Hambrose said of the event’s atmosphere. “It’s small town America, it’s the Fourth of July, it’s great food, it’s music, it’s the outdoors, it’s fireworks, and I think it’s something that all strong communities need and deserve. And we certainly live in a strong community.”