Everyone is invited to dust off those dancing boots and head to Bridge Park in Sylva on Saturday, September 17 for Bridge Park Boogie 2022.
The event aims to highlight the needs and access of people with disabilities to ensure that everyone can enjoy downtown Sylva.
Bridge Park Boogie 2022 is an inclusive dance event, specifically designed for people with disabilities and children.
“People with disabilities and their families often face barriers and obstacles that prevent them from comfortably participating in all that our community has to offer,” said event organizer Katy Morden. “This event aims to celebrate the incredible work that so many organizations in our community are already doing, and to raise awareness and encourage events and businesses to make a more conscious and concerted effort to ensure everyone feels included and welcome.”
Free services such as sensory hairstyles and photos will be available, as well as chill tents and sensory cabins.
A DJ will be playing music all day and volunteers on the dance floor will assist participants when needed.
Schools, non-profit organizations and government agencies will be present with information, games and activities.
Local businesses, nonprofits and individuals have reached out to offer their support.
Event sponsors include Innovation Brewing, State Farm Agent Patricia Bryson-Wink, Mountain Credit Union, Studio e Salon, High Noon Tattoo, City Lights Café, Baxley’s Chocolates, Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy, Smoky Mountain Cheer Club, WCU School of Nursing and DisAbility Partners. Bridge Park Boogie has also received support from the Main Street Sylva Association, the City of Sylva, Public Works and the Sylva Police Department.
“I am overwhelmed by the endless support from individuals, businesses, nonprofits, government and law enforcement in planning this event,” Morden said. “It’s clear that people in our community care deeply about each other. They prove they are eager to learn and work to provide more inclusive spaces. This process has made me prouder than ever of my community and its efforts to reflect its core values – that Sylva is a place where everyone belongs.
Below are ways to support Bridge Park Boogie.
1. Become a community sponsor: In-kind sponsors are sought to help the event run smoothly and to provide a free and fully accessible day for guests and their families.
2. Attend Free A+ Access Advocate Training: A+ Access Advocate training is offered to help businesses and organizations create an inclusive environment where all customers can take advantage of products and services. Training is free and open to all Jackson County businesses.
3. Offer a profit percentage or promotion on the day of the event to benefit local non-profit organizations serving people with disabilities. The organizers encourage contributions to Full Spectrum Farms and DisAbility Partners.
4. Sponsor a Station: The event will have multiple stations, including an aquatic sensory station with a kiddie pool and water toys, a creative station with arts and crafts supplies, a chill tent with cushions and sensory objects and a photo booth with an online gallery where customers can collect photos. Sponsors will also be included in All Access Downtown promotions.
Organizers are asking for donations of bottled water, extension cords, snacks, chalk, bubble wrap, noise canceling headphones and more. To donate, contact Morden at email@example.com.
Loans of tents and tables would be appreciated.
During the Bridge Park event, attendees will be encouraged to visit downtown businesses, especially those who have earned their A+ Access Advocate badge.
To earn an A+ Advocate badge, business owners are invited to attend an Accessibility Training at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6 at Sylva Town Hall and commit to putting in place amenities. for people with disabilities.
The organizers also need volunteers to help with parking, setting up, cleaning and organizing different activities during the event.
“This is entirely a volunteer effort,” Morden said. “Everyone involved is doing this work after their workday and personal/family commitments. They are true advocates, participating because they are eager to celebrate and support this most special part of our community. »
Organizers want the event to be annual and are confident the passion and commitment of their volunteers will make it possible, Morden said.
For more information, to register for A+ Advocate training, to become a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Bridge Park Boogie Facebook page or contact Morden, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 399-1930.
Laura Jester is an intern for The Sylva Herald.
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