JACKSON TWP.  The 2018 Jackson Township Community Celebration opened in Jackson’s North Park last week and staying with tradition, the festival was four days packed full of live entertainment food, rides and plenty of fun.

One of the big events that takes place at Jackson High School during the Community Celebration is the 5K Night Glow race. The two-decades old event was held the evening of June 29. It raises money for the Jackson High School cross country sports team.

"My husband started the race to help raise money for the team and he decided to hold it during the same time as the Community Celebration in North Park," said Angie Walsh, whose husband Kevin, coaches the cross country teams. "It’s the team’s main fundraiser and it helps raise money to pay for the camp, apparel, buses or anything else the team may need throughout the year."

Coach Walsh said that the race started with 37 runners and this year it had 1,500 to 1,700 runners. The race starts in front of Jackson High School. Jackson Police block off a section of Fulton Road for the runners to line up at the starting line around 9:30 p.m.

Runners travel Fulton Road and run through neighborhoods around North Park and they cross the finish line inside the park surrounded by those visiting the Community Celebration. According to Jackson Local Schools’ website, the course is lighted by 1,256 luminaries; there is a Second Sole glow stick stop; there are illuminating balloons that lift runners up the most challenging hill on the course; and many residents in the neighborhoods cheer the runners on as they pass.

Registrants receive race T-shirts and glow necklaces when they registered in the commons area inside the high school. Many of the runners show up before 8 p.m. and socialize and stretch before race time. Walsh keeps the runners informed of the time and encourages runners to line up around 9:20 p.m. The race is started by a short burst of fireworks.

While the daytime temperatures were in the upper 80s and lower 90s, by race time there was a slight breeze and the temperatures had dropped significantly.

Debbie and Kurt Dreger and Tom Seymour were there around 8 p.m. and all three said the weather was great for running. Seymour said this was his fourth year to run the race and he said last year it was pouring down during the race.

There is also a kids’ half-mile fun run/walk held in North Park. Awards for the 5K included the top five overall male and female participants and the top four male and female finishers in a variety of age categories.

Race Walk Awards were given to those who walked the entire course as follows: The top three overall male & female participants & the top three male and female finishers in each age categories: 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and over. Fun Run Awards ribbons were given to all finishers of the Fun Run.