As 2020 begins, and I look back on this past year in the Abingtons, there is much to be thankful for. What stands out most as I review the stories published throughout the year in the Suburban is the sense of community spirit that flowed through each sporting event, each project, each fundraiser and each performance held in the Abingtons.
Here are just some of the many local highlights from 2019.
About 80 people kicked off the year at the Lackawanna State Park for its First Day Hike. It was the largest turnout to that date for the annual event, which began about six years prior.
Abington Heights and North Pocono competed in the 11th annual Pink Game, and art students participated in a T-shirt design contest. Katie Seechock, then a sophomore, created the winning design.
The Rotary Club of the Abingtons celebrated the 100th birthday of one of its members, Howard Hyde. Born on Jan. 20, 1919, Hyde became a Rotarian in 1970.
Below-freezing temperatures enabled Hillside Park volunteers to open the lake for ice skating and pond hockey, and people came out in droves to enjoy the winter exercise and camaraderie.
February’s main attraction in the Abingtons was the 15th Anniversary Clarks Summit Festival of Ice, featuring an “Ice Wars” theme. Presented by the Abington Business and Professional Association from Feb. 15-17, the festival featured a nighttime parade, dozens of “Star Wars”-themed ice sculptures sponsored by area businesses, a live ice-carving contest and carving demonstrations, a comic-con, live music, children’s activities and more. Local art students even painted “Star Wars” scenes on the windows of area businesses.
The Abington Memorial VFW Post No. 7069 honored LCpl. David Parker, a local Marine who was killed in action 50 years ago in Vietnam. A ceremony was held at his grave at Abington Hills Cemetery on Feb. 28.
The Abington Heights boys and girls basketball teams both captured district 2 championships in the first week of March. The boys’ team beat Crestwood on March 1, and the girls defeated Wyoming Valley West the next day.
March also brought with it the annual Scranton Saint Patrick’s Parade, in which several Abington-area groups performed including the Abington Heights Marching Comets.
A week before Saint Patrick’s Day, Poor Man’s Gambit, an Irish group, performed at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit. Upbeat percussive tunes chased away the winter blues at the concert on March 10.
The Waverly Community House hosted a third community Saint Patrick’s Day event, a family party, on March 16.
Local artist Dorothy O’Connor displayed her paintings at the Abington Community Library. The collection of farmland animals of all shapes and sizes brightened up the library all month, and a reception was held on March 28.
Plenty of Easter egg hunts, plays and other holiday events brought a rainbow of color to the Abingtons. Clarks Green Assembly of God (now Servant Church of the Abingtons) presented its “SONrise” drama, The Gathering Place hosted a pysanky egg class and Countryside Community Church hosted an egg hunt, to name just a few.
The Abington Heights Civic League celebrated the season with its Cheers to Spring Wine Festival on Saturday, April 27 at South Abington Recreation Park.
The Hillside Park Farmers Market opened for the season on May 9. The market, which lasted through the end of October, featured live music along with various local vendors.
The Waverly Community House held its annual Waverly Waddle 5K Run/Walk in honor of mothers and caregivers on May 11. The first place overall finisher was Alex Duffy, 14, of Waverly.
A team of fifth graders from Abington Heights Middle School traveled to Michigan State University at the end of the month for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.
The weather cooperated beautifully for Clarks Summit’s Memorial Day parade, which drew a large crowd along Grove and State streets and Winola Road.
The Abington-area community rallied to help clean up and rebuild local businesses in June after an EF-1 tornado touched down in Newton Township at the end of May. Ayers Country Market took some of the worst hits, but many area residents homes and property suffered damage as well.
Children and families lined the shore around the lake at Hillside Park for the 10th annual Forever Young Kids’ Fishing Derby on June 8.
Runners and walkers from all over the region participated in the Strawberry Day 5K on June 22 in Clarks Summit. The event also featured a festival with vendors, food and other activities. Local residents also organized a fundraiser in conjunction with the event for the Sayre family of Tunkhannock. Luke Sayre was severely burned in an accident at the beginning of the month, and funds raised helped with medical and related expenses during his recovery.
Paul LaBelle and the Exact Change kicked off the Lakeside Wednesday Concerts series on June 26. The concerts, performed under the lakeside pavilion at Hillside Park, continued weekly through Aug. 28.
A longtime Abington-area business, Chinchilla Variety Store, closed its doors permanently on July 1 when John Berry, owner of 48 years, retired. The building was demolished in December.
The Rotary Club of the Abingtons once again lit up the sky with Independence Day fireworks on July 2. Although rain showers dampened the grounds, local residents still came out to ride the carnival rides, enjoy snacks from the food trucks, mingle with their neighbors and watch the show.
The Dalton Fire Company’s annual carnival kicked off Tuesday evening, July 9 and continued through Saturday, July 13. People packed the carnival grounds each evening, riding the rides, sampling the food, listening to live entertainment and more. A firemen’s parade, which marched through the center of town, rounded out the event.
The Waverly Community House kicked off its still-ongoing centennial celebration on July 26.
Local CrossFit athlete, Gigi Sabatini, an Abington Heights sophomore, earned second place for her age division in the International Reebok CrossFit Games held in Madison, Wisconsin Aug. 1-4.
The Abington Art Studio and The Gathering Place partnered to present the Abington Art Studio Student Showcase. The exhibit opened on Aug. 16 and remained on display through Sept. 1.
The Fleetville Volunteer Fire Company’s inaugural Fleetville Fall Fair was a big success. Held on Sept. 7, the fair featured a variety of craft, flea market and food vendors, live music and other activities. It served as a fundraiser for the fire company.
Our Lady of Peace School in Clarks Green celebrated the new school year with its Back-to-School Picnic on Sept. 15.
The Newton Recreation Center kicked off the fall season with its inaugural fall festival on Sept. 21.
The Rotary Club of the Abingtons hosted another successful Taste of the Abingtons fundraiser on Sept. 29. Dozens of local restaurants, grocery stores, wineries and more participated, offering sample-size portions to event guests.
Clarks Green Assembly of God celebrated its name change to Servant Church of the Abingtons with a community event on Oct. 6. Treats and plenty of family activities helped make the day special for church members and neighbors from the community.
The Dalton Fire Company held a successful wine festival on Oct. 5 on the carnival grounds. People came from all over the Abingtons and beyond to sample wine, enjoy live music and spend time with friends and family.
The Abington Business and Professional Association hosted Fall Fun and Market Day in the Abingtons on Oct. 19. The event featured pumpkin carving demonstrations, hay rides, vendors, a bounce house and many other fall-themed family activities.
Clarks Summit University’s theater department presented “No Opera at the Op’ry House Tonight (or) Too Good to be True,” a melodrama with old-fashioned fun and a contemporary flair, from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.
Picciocchi’s Pasta, the Abingtons’ newest Italian restaurant, held its grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Matthew McDonnell, the young founder of the local nonprofit Matthew’s Hope 4 Miracles, held a Christmas toy drive on Nov. 30 at South Abington Park to collect presents for children spending the holiday at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
December was filled with a variety of local holiday events including several craft and vendor fairs, Servant Church of the Abingtons’ annual Live Nativity of the Abingtons, the Newton Recreation Center’s inaugural tree lighting, the South Abington Lions Club’s 16th annual Christmas Party, a visit from Signing Santa at the Abington Community Library and more.
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