Fundraiser for autism research also part of Saturday’s event
Wesley Chapel wants to honor local soldiers during this year’s Heritage Festival.
The event, taking place Saturday,
Oct. 1, will start with a fundraising race and then a parade along Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road. The parade starts at 10 a.m, starting out at the intersection with Underwood Road and ending at the Lowes Foods shopping center. At the beginning of the parade, festival organizers hope to have local soldiers march so that residents can show their support.
“We would love to see people line up all the way down the parade route to cheer them on and show our appreciation for their service to this community and our country,” Wesley Chapel resident Kathy Patterson said.
The Cuthbertson marching band will perform, along with Carolina Clowns and the Shea Rose Vaulters from Marvin.
Overall, the festival lasts from 10:30 a.m to 4 p.m., with games, a bounce house, the ability to pan for gold from Reed’s Gold Mine and a number of arts and crafts.
Early in the morning, the event will start with a 5k called Race Away Autism.
“There are a lot more people than I’d ever heard of who deal with this issue on a daily basis,” Dr. Daniel Danieley, of Kinetic Spine and Sport, said about Autism. “As a parent, it rips your heart out.”
Danieley is an organizer of the event, along with David Pohorence, of Wesley Chapel Anytime Fitness.
“With one out of 110 kids being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, [the race] seemed like a great idea,” Danieley added.
Children with autism spectrum disorder generally begin to show symptoms around three years old. These regressive and withdrawing behaviors can be difficult for parents to deal with.
The Autism Society offers a library of reading materials to educate parents while maintaining support groups and providing contact information for doctors than can help. They also donate supplies to special needs classrooms in the community.
“We wanted to keep it local,” Pohorence said. “We tossed back and forth local schools [to donate the proceeds to], and then we talked to some of our clients.”
Several of those clients had autistic children, which convinced the organizers to chose the local Autism Society to support.
“We want to make this a family event,” Pohorence said. The first part of the race, the Tot Trot, is a short run for the kids led by 5K runners. Directly following the kid’s race is the 5K, which begins at 8:15 a.m. To register for the event go to www.racesonline.com.
Festival goers can park in the Harris Teeter and Wachovia lot, as ongoing construction near Target will prevent much traffic there. Both Harris Teeter and Wachovia said they would allow festival goers to use their parking lot. q