Extra Special People Fall Festival

By Ashley Yost

Athens, Ga– There’s another fall festival happening in Watkinsville this Saturday. And it will cater to some special people!

Ally Geronimo, PR and Program Director at ESP said “A lot of the time the children that we serve aren’t able to go Halloween trick or treating so its that kind of opportunity for them to come out, get dressed up– wear a costume and just have a good time withe their families.”

This fall festival in Watkinsville is a celebration for children and young adults with special needs.

ESP–Extra Special People will host the event this weekend. They’re a non Profit Organization that relies heavily on volunteers.

“Like Autism UGA, Special Olympics, Girl Scout troops different groups from Oconee and North Oconee,” said Geronimo.

When families walk in the front door, a photo booth will be set up for the kids to get their picture taken in their costumes.

In their big main room there will be booths with different games.

Volunteer Chandler Hammond tells what his booth is doing this weekend. “We’re having a fishing booth and we’re going to have a fishing pole with a magnet.” He said “And they’re going to throw it into the pot and catch something on a magnet and we’re actually giving them the fish.”

Outside there will be a bounce house and this building will host a haunted house. They’re even taking over Watkinsville City Hall and using that building to serve the food that Zaxby’s will cater. ESP expects two hundred and fifty families or more to attend.

The festival is geared primarily towards people with special needs and their families, but anyone can come.

“Anyone who wants to come and see what we do as ESP is more than welcome to come check it out,” said Geronimo. “Volunteers–we have probably close to 100 which we’re really excited about and we could always use more hands.”

For the volunteers like Chandler Hammond, these kids hold a special place in his heart.

“I really never knew anybody with special needs growing up” recounts Hammond “And then my brother married a girl who had a little sister with special needs–has Down Syndrome–and I just fell in love with her.”


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