Sixth annual Festifall equals dinner, dancin' and fun for special needs – White Mountain Independent

SHOW LOW — About 100 people welcomed the arrival of fall with dinner, dancing, games and an all-around feeling of warmth Saturday during the sixth annual “Festifall.”

“Festifall” is not just any fall season affair. Organized by Elk member Patricia Madson and hosted by Show Low Elks Lodge 2090, the event is specifically designed for special-needs and/or developmentally disabled adults.

Local band Strange Brew played everything from the Hokey Pokey to Van Halen for the guests. Boy Scout Troop 7733, sponsored by VFW post 9907 in Show Low, served dinner and bussed tables. Six teachers helped with games for those who weren’t the dancing type. Elks members prepared a special dinner and dessert for all the guests and volunteers.

The Saturday night crowd included approximately 52 special-needs individuals and another 40-50 people that included caregivers, volunteers, teachers, family members, Elks staff, local Boy Scout Troop and a live band.

Aires, Blue Thumb, The Meadows, TLC Supported Living Services Inc. and several other organizations and families that provide specialized care brought special-needs individuals to the event. Most of the these organizations provide residential group homes, respite, day programs and/or vocational programs for developmentally disabled individuals.

Started by Madson six years ago, “Festifall” has become a cherished event for the community. Madson and her husband are also the primary caregivers for a family member named Susan, so they know the importance of fun, no-cost community events that offer a safe, non-judgmental setting that welcome everyone.

Needless to say, putting on a dinner and dance like this takes a considerable amount of work. Madson thanked the devoted blend of staff and volunteers that brought everything together seamlessly.

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Vadhiya Natha

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