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Boca Raton News


Date ArticleType
10/31/2019 General
12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities


Nation’s largest, FREE, one-day event for people with disabilities--both seen and unseen-- returns to Boca Raton on Sunday, March 1, 2020; 6,000+ guests anticipated 

BOCA RATON, FL. – October 2019 – The 12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities – the nation’s largest, free, one-day event for people with disabilities, both seen and unseen – will again welcome national entertainment to its stages for its audience of 6,000 anticipated guests. Presented by the American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., the event has become an inclusive, accessible Spring Break event, drawing families from across the country.
Coming back for her third year will be singer Kechi Okwuchi, a Nigerian-American singer and motivational speaker. She was one of two survivors of the 107 passengers aboard Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145, which crashed in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on December 10, 2005. Kechi suffered severe third-degree burns all over her body. To date, she has endured more than 100 surgeries. A finalist on the 12th season of America’s Got Talent in 2017, and in the 2019 AGT’s Champions rendition, Okwuchi headlined the Boating & Beach Bash in 2018 and 2019 and is always a tremendous crowd-pleaser.
Returning for 2020, Rion Paige, an 18-year-old finalist on the X Factor, will perform as one of the Bash’s two headliners. A Jacksonville, FL native, who now lives in Nashville, TN, Paige was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which caused permanent damage to her arms, resulting in her hands being in a fixed, bent position. A country-and-western musician with a huge singing voice, Rion was mentored on Season 3 of the X Factor by Demi Lovato.
Joining them on stage will be Kellye Cash, a former Miss America and niece of country super star Johnny Cash. Known for her extraordinary singing voice and bigger than life personality, Cash will perform the National Anthem and assist with hosting the Bash’s activities.
“We couldn’t be happier to have two young stars who demonstrate through their amazing talent that people with disabilities have so much to contribute to our enjoyment,” said Executive Director Jay Van Vechten. “Each year, the Bash grows in so many ways – with our entertainment, support, visitors, features and sheer fun factor. We are bringing back all the elements people love, plus we’re adding the star power attraction of Ms. Cash, Ms. Okwuchi and Ms. Paige.”
The 12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, March 1, 2020, at Spanish River Park, 3001 North Ocean Blvd. (A1A), Boca Raton, FL 33431.
Designed as a Spring Break vacation for all people with disabilities, their family members and supportive caregivers, the Bash has welcomed guests from as far away as California and Rome, Italy. It is the only event of its kind, offering complimentary, scheduled boat rides, special access to the beach and ocean with Mobi Mats, a Kids Fun Zone, therapy workshops led by trained specialists, wheelchair yoga, music, costumed dance parties, therapy ponies and dogs, two miniature accessible trains that guests can ride, an antique trolley, a BBQ lunch, and more. Everything is free and geared toward those  with special needs.
The Bash was started in 2009 as an event hosted by the City of Boca Raton Advisory Board for People with Disabilities.  The City relinquished the Bash in 2011 to the management of Executive Director Jay Van Vechten and his wife, Lowell. Since then, through community support and donations, the couple and the Bash’s planning committee have pushed the event’s growth beyond wildest expectations. Welcoming nearly 6,000  guests in 2019, the Bash has become the largest, free, wholly disability-friendly event in the country with a full schedule of national and local entertainment, recreation, boat rides, beach access, vendors, exhibitions, workshops and food in the nation. It has also become a Spring Break destination event in South Florida, drawing families from as far away as California and New York.
Learn more at www.boatingbeachbash.com

12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
March 1, 2020
Spanish River Park, 3001 North Ocean Blvd. (A1A), Boca Raton, FL 33431
www.BoatingBeachBash.com; 561-715-2622
National singing acts Kechi Okwuchi and Rion Paige – both performers with physical disabilities –  will headline the 12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, along with Kellye Cash, a country singer and former Miss America. The Bash, which is free, is the nation’s largest festival for people with special needs – both seen and unseen – their family members and caregivers. Festivities include boat rides, beach access, sporting events, ponies for petting, costumed action heroes, local entertainment, wheelchair yoga, miniature train rides, a Kids Fun Zone, food, music, a vendors’ row, and dance parties.