The 9th annual Boating and Beach bash for People with Disabilities will be held this Saturday, March 18th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Spanish River Park in Boca Raton.
The event is for people with special needs, their families, and caregivers and aims to embrace the 20% of Florida residents who live with a physical/intellectual disability.
Guests of all ages are treated like VIPs as soon as they arrive. It is completely free including admission, parking, lunch, boat rides, concerts, and related activities.
The location has the beach on one side, the Intracoastal on the other, and grassy picnic areas, pavilions, walkways, and playgrounds in between.
Mobility mats will be rolled out in the sand so people with wheelchairs and prosthetics can make it to the ocean. Physical therapists and the Coast Guard will transfer people into floating wheelchairs and an aquatics team will help them into the ocean.
“Many guests haven't been in the ocean before and all this goes towards increasing people's awareness of their bodies and what they can do, not what they can't do,” said Jay Van Vechten, Chairman of the event.
There will be 20+ yachts at the Boat & Beach Bash including George H.W. Bush’s personal speed boat for guests to ride on the Intracoastal.
There will also be an opening ceremony with the national anthem before the complimentary BBQ lunch, 40+ exhibitors, yoga and meditation, and dozens of games to engage people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities including wheelchair basketball and tennis.
Two thousand backpacks are filled with goodies to give away and activities for the kids include balloon art, magicians, superheroes, and farm animals.
Disability leaders from all over the country will be speaking at the event and Andrea McArdle, the original star of “Annie” will perform her signature song “Tomorrow.”
The event is sponsored by the American Disabilities Fund which raises funds for the Bash throughout the year. Five thousand people are expected with 400 volunteers.
Palm Beach County has a 25% disabled population, one of the highest rates in the nation. If you’d like to volunteer, click here.
To see the video from last year's Bash click here.