Swifts Beach says goodbye to summer at 45th Annual Labor Day Races

Sep 02

It was all play and no work at Swifts Beach on Sunday as neighbors celebrated the end of summer with a field day.

A couple hundred people gathered at Joseph Conway Park to compete in the 45th Swifts Beach Annual Labor Day Races, which included an egg toss, three-legged races, sprints, a kangaroo hop, a dog race and much more. The event brings people of all ages together as toddlers, grandparents and everyone in between is welcome to compete.

“This is our biggest event of the year,” said Kathleen Norris, of the Swifts Beach Improvement Association. “This brings everybody together at the end of the summer just as school is starting. Everyone is invited and we have such a great turnout today.”

The long-running event featured thrills and spills as more than a few people tumbled on their way to the finish line during the day’s races. One young competitor, Vivianno Shreve, 11, has been racing since she could walk. By 10:30 a.m., she already had one blue ribbon following a win.

“I’ve won a lot since I started racing,” she said. “My whole family is here today and we cheer each other on. I love it!”

In total, 45 people in Vivianno’s extended family were either spectators or racers on Sunday, everyone from grandkids to grandparents taking part.

Husband and wife Jan and Tom Pilleri coordinated the event. On the day of the races, Tom served as an announcer while Jan handed out prizes to the winners. She explained that while first place finishers receive larger prizes, everyone who races gets something.

“We want everyone leaving here to feel like a winner,” said Jan.