WHAT IS THE BOATING & BEACH BASH FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES?
South Florida’s Annual Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities will celebrate its 5th Anniversary on March 16, 2013.
The Bash has grown to become the largest, free, fun-day in America for children, adults and Purple Heart recipients with physical and/or intellectual challenges, and their caregivers. It is held in the tropical setting of Boca Raton, Florida’s famed Spanish River Park. The highlight of the event is the opportunity to enjoy a boat ride aboard a flotilla of private yachts along the Intracoastal Waterway. All boats are donated by members of Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton. The Bash is completely organized and run by community volunteers and is funded through private donations and sponsorship.
The Boating and Beach Bash was conceived in 2008 by members of the City of Boca Raton Advisory Board for People with Disabilities. The event was created as a unique, fun way to salute people with disabilities and their caregivers by celebrating diversity in South Florida. Just consider:
20% of all Americans have a disability.
That number soars to one in four, or 25% of all men, women and children living in Palm Beach County.
50% + of Americans are touched by disabilities within their families or among friends and colleagues.
The first Bash in March of 2009 attracted 350 participants, along with seven yachts offering rides to all attendees. A BBQ lunch was served. A band, featuring musicians with disabilities, rocked the park. All other services were volunteered and donated.
The second Bash in March of 2010 attracted 700 participants, virtually doubling in size from 2009. The event was enhanced by numerous volunteers from the Coast Guard, Boca High School’s Junior Navy ROTC students and from the private sector. A dozen yachts participated.
The third Bash in March of 2011 attracted 2,000 guests and achieved the status of being the largest, free, fun-day ever staged in the United States for people with special needs, their families and caregivers. Dubbed “The Miracle on the Intracoastal,” by the media, the 2011 Bash featured 25 yachts and over 100 volunteers from the public and private sector. An exhibitor zone with 25 leading nonprofit organizations was added, as the Bash gained media attention throughout Florida, nationally and internationally.
The fourth Bash in March 2012 drew 501 volunteers to assist 4493 attendees, including 400 Purple Heart recipients, invited as special guests through the VA Hospital in West Palm Beach, in association with our new marketing partner, the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation, a 501c3. The opening of hearts to veterans with disabilities further enhances the Bash’s growing circle of recognition and celebration of diversity in America. The 2012 Bash, no longer a City-sponsored event, served 6000 BBQ lunches, and offered 2000 boat rides aboard 30 donated yachts. Nonstop entertainment thrilled guests of all ages.