This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, with special sales on barbecue grills and pool supplies, camping equipment and sunscreen.
It's hard not to get excited about a three-day weekend when the weather is expected to be beautiful and there is so much to do.
For the best-of-the-best in high school track and field, this weekend is the ultimate competition: the PIAA championships. Hundreds of athletes from throughout the state converge upon Seth Grove Stadium in Shippensburg, trying to shave another hundreth-of-a-second off their best times, or add another tenth-of-an-inch to their best distance.
There is nothing quite like state track and field when the sun is shining, a nice breeze is blowing, and a rainbow of uniforms compete together for a spot on the medal stands. The confident public address announcer rattles off placewinners while scattered cheers are heard from the stands and throughout the fields. Records are set, champions are crowned and memories are made during the two-day event which celebrates not only individual athleticism but also team triumphs. Best wishes to all of our area athlethtes heading to Shippensburg on Friday.
Racing of another sort should be very exciting this holiday weekend, as the Indianapolis 500 - or the "greatest spectacle in racing" will draw hundreds of thousands to the Brickyard.
The event will undoubtedly be bittersweet as the 2011 champion will not be there to defend his title. Dan Wheldon died in a crash in the last race of the season, a chilling reminder of the dangerous nature of the high-speed sport.
On the NASCAR schedule, the traditional Coca-Cola 600 goes green Saturday night in North Carolina.
The second go-round in two weeks at the Charlotte Motor Speedway is not only the return to points racing after the million-dollar all-star clash last week, but also the start of a special NASCAR program celebrating U.S. military families.
Beginning Memorial Day Weekend and ending the week of the 4th of July, NASCAR will be decked out in red, white and blue, from a special series logo, to paint schemes, and much more.
Each team will celebrate the special six-week period in their own way while NASCAR salutes those who serve our country at home and abroad. Gold Star families will be featured, having lost a loved one in service to the United States; wounded warriors and their families will take part in special events of their own.
It is a fitting celebration, particularly on Memorial Day Weekend, as we hopefully pause to remember the real reason for the holiday.
Camping, cookouts and spending time with friends and family is wonderful all summer long, but it's also important to remember those who have given their all so that we have the opportunity to enjoy not only our sports, but our freedom.
Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.