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Boating & Beach Bash for special needs moves to March 1

People with special needs get a boat ride, beach access, food, live entertainment and a party atmosphere. The 12th annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities is earlier this year: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday March 1.

The free outdoor event in Spanish River Park expects to top 6,000 attendees, families and caregivers. If you’re thinking about going, here’s the link.

What’s new this year? Pontoon boats, adding to the Royal Palm Yacht Club fleet already on board. A trolley shuttle and ADA accessible mini train from the parking lot. Quiet zone, ear plugs, sensory toys and sunglasses for guests on the autism spectrum.

Johnny Cash’s niece Kellye Cash, who entertained at The Wick here, returns to sing the National Anthem. “America’s Got Talent” finalist Kechi Okwuchi, a burn survivor, returns to headline the bash. Country and western musician and “X Factor” finalist Rion Paige is also back.

Logistics and planning are paramount. So we sat in on session presided over by co-founders Lowell and Jay Van Vechten.

Each committee member has his and her own marching orders to make this happen. from super hero costumes to a kids zone. There’s surfboard lessons, mobi mats to accommodate wheel chairs on the beach, and beach yoga.

It’s the one day of year people with disabilities get to be celebrated and feel normal, Jay said.

By Marci Shatzman

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