Instead of asking what is going on this weekend…..maybe the question should be what is NOT going on this weekend?
Panama City Beach and her surrounding areas are growing and so is the list of things to do! The exciting part is that list of events is growing more diverse, from fitness to funky to family fun like this weekend’s Fall Festival at Pier Park. The Fall Festival is an annual event of Woodlawn United Methodist Church, this year marking the fourth year it is at Pier Park.
The event is open to the public and is at no cost to participants, with all food, games and treats like kettle corn, cotton candy and more for FREE. Participants will also enjoy LIVE MUSIC and prizes.
Woodlawn UMC like many of the churches in our area, emphasizes service to their community, so the fall festival is just another way to give back.
Woodlawn hopes area families will take advantage of this FREE event and enjoy a few hours of fellowship and games with their loved ones. The event is Saturday, November 3rd from 10 am to 2 pm.
The church can be reached at 850-234-3196 or you may visit their Facebook page.
Have you ever met anyone with Down Syndrome? If it wasn’t for the work of the Special Olympics or the warm-hearted cheerleader on GLEE would you even know what it looked like?
I think many of us would agree that fear comes from the unknown and being in small town USA, we are insulated from a lot of unknowns, like genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, we don’t understand.
But did you know here in Bay County there are as many as 7 new families with children born with Down Syndrome?
On a national level one in every 733 babies in the United States is born with it, making it the most common genetic condition. About 6,000 babies are born with Down’s in the U.S every year.
But how would you know that? I didn’t until I spoke to a couple mother’s whose lives were affected….for the better, by the way. One woman, Shannon, whose family frequently visits our beaches, and hopes to call it home some day, shared with me about her experience very candidly.
After giving birth she looked at her baby Lucas, who is now the absolute light unto her path, and she knew before the doctor told her. She was terrified, she broke down into a “crying, snotty mess” she said. She realized that as a mother, one of her primal fears were ignited, something was “wrong” with her baby. But “wrong” turned out to be just “right” and the biggest blessing of her and her husband’s lifetime.
After the hormonal rush of pregnancy had subsided and she was able to reflect on her gutteral reaction she concluded most of her horror was based on pure ignorance. She had never met anyone with Down Syndrome before, she didn’t know anything about it, how was she going to take care of our baby? Isn’t that every mother’s fear that we will not somehow be equipped, i.e, good enough to take care of our children?
As I spoke with Shannon and she shared her story, her candor touched me, I thanked her for it. She simply said…”you know, your story is your story.”
Those words hit me in the face and I hope they leave a mark on yours. Your story is your story and it can be as sad or scary or beautiful as you want it to be. But before it is written, when it is still in the beginning and you don’t know what is going to happen…it can be pretty scary.
But it doesn’t have to be, you can reach out and find people to talk to, learn more about Aspergers and Autism and Down Syndrome and all of those things that terrify us because we don’t know any better. For Shannon, she read the blog by Kelle Hampton, a mother she not only connected to, but made her realize what an amazing gift she had been given.
Thankfully there are organizations that raise awareness of these issues that affect so many of new mother’s today. October happens to be Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
If you want to learn more about Down Syndrome and have a fun, family friendly day outside, you are in luck for this Saturday, October 20th is the Annual Buddy Walk put on by Acton Up with Downs at Aaron Bessant Park next to Pier Park.
There will be lots to do at this event..Music…Food..
Children’s games and crafts…entertainment for all! Dr. Shane of WPAP will be the MC and the Parrots Club will play music. Prosperity Bank will be keep our bellies full with hot dogs and hamburgers for all.
Well, the Jazz Festival was awesome! They had record numbers and mostly excellent weather (minus Saturday), and they’ve already started selling tickets for next year! With that out of the way, the improvements that are slated for Aaron Bessant Park are preparing to begin! Although I don’t look forward for the workers working during our hot summer days.
We’ve discussed what the plans are here, and you’ve certainly chimed in.
Q&A with the City of Panama City Beach
We were curious about what was happening over there and fired off some questions to Mario Gisbert, the director of the CRA, who also happens to handle some of the logistics regarding the development of this project.
Q. Now that the Jazz Fest is over, is there a projected begin date for the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater Improvements?
We are fine toning the drawings now, we will be pricing per the City of Panama City Beach requirements shortly (one month process). Upon council approval of bids (two week process) and not exceeding the budget we would start construction. Goal would be June start.
Q. What is the projected construction time on the amphitheater?
The construction duration is approximately 5 months.
Q. What has been learned about the acoustical ramifications of the way the speakers can be oriented?
With proper speaker orientation, building configuration and amplification limitations, the performances will work within the current sound ordinance. These issues are being addressed with the building design. The performance standards are being developed at this point in time.
Q. How will the speakers be oriented in order to be sensitive to the needs of the surrounding public?
The speakers will be aimed (7 degree cone) into the audience and not out towards the neighborhoods.
Q. Was some of what has been learned put into practice for the Jazz Festival this year?
The performance provider was aware of the current issues and did coordinate the speakers for a proper responsible performance. The current sound ordinance limits were adhered. We did monitor the event.
Q. How will the sound be monitored on an ongoing basis to be sure everyone is happy?
We will complete the performance standards and monitor the effects and adjust as needed. We are planning on having the acoustician present during the new building performance in order to make final adjustments with building and speakers and amplification.
The Seabreeze Jazz Festival is right around the corner and we’ve got the full lineup and schedule right here. This is the third year that it’ll be held at Aaron Bessant Park in Pier Park and is set up to be the biggest year ever.
We’re also giving away 4 FOUR day general admission tickets, stay tuned for the link where you can sign up.