Published On: Tue, Mar 5th, 2019

More Talent And More Fun Added To 11th Annual Boating & Beach Bash For People With Disabilities

The 11th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities – the nation’s largest, free, one-day event for people with special needs, both seen and unseen – has expanded its lineup of entertainment for the more than the 5,000 guests expected to participate in this year’s event. Presented by the American Disabilities Foundation, the Bash has become an inclusive Spring Break event, drawing families from across the country.

Several new elements will be featured at the Bash this year:

Kechi’s back after earning the ‘Golden Buzzer’ from Simon Cowell on AGT: America’s Got Talent break-out star, Kechi Okwuchi, will return for her second appearance at the Bash, after earning the Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell as a finalist on the most recent version of NBC’s popular talent showcase. Kechi performed brilliantly before ending her competitive run on Feb. 18 during the Championship Season of the show.

X FACTOR finalist Rion Paige takes to the Bash stage: Rion Paige, a Country & Western singer who won America’s heart on the popular TV show, The X Factor, will join the Bash for the first time, bringing her signature high energy Nashville sound to Boca Raton.

Wheelchair Rapper Rebounds: Jeremie “Phenom” Thomas, also known as the “Wheelchair Rapper,” will get the audience moving when he takes the Bash stage. Jeremie is one of the featured personalities in The Rebound, a documentary about the spirit of wheelchair basketball and three athletes’ journeys to overcome challenges in search of new opportunities. The award-winning film has been shown numerous film festivals. Jeremie continues to play basketball for the Miami Heat Wheels, in addition to performing and speaking to audiences worldwide.

Natalia Sulca, visually-impaired singer to perform: Natalia’s musical portfolio includes singing on the Latin Grammy Awards and winning the prestigious Celia Cruz Award. A talented artist from Miami, she will help start the day by performing the National Anthem during the Bash’s opening ceremonies. She’ll return to the stage later in the day to sing many of her most popular songs.

The 21 members of Miami’s Lighthouse for the Blind Gospel Choir:  This spirited group promises to ‘raise the roof’ with their joyful gospel sound. Ranging in age from 17 to 70, each member of the choir is visually impaired, many having no vision at all. The group came together at the Lighthouse, where they met, and now rehearse their music each week, says John Nichols, the center’s Musical Director.

26 Yoga Teachers invite guests to stretch their skills: Twenty Six of South Florida’s leading Yoga practitioners will, ‘spread the happy,” says Cathy Collins Rosenberg, a leading Delray Beach Yoga teacher, and this year’s Yoga event organizer. Cathy has arranged for “the best teachers,” she says, to teach yoga, fitness, balance, meditation and even chanting, while offering, shoulder massage, stretching exercises, wheelchair yoga and more. There will be a henna artist ready to decorate hands and feet for those interested in the ancient Indian art of henna painting. “We’ll even offer hugs to those who ask,” says Ms. Rosenberg. Yoga sessions will be led in a designated pavilion, so everyone can participate. Grab a spot and get your downward dog going!

Returning MCs: Jeff Bovarnick will back as the affable Bash MC and will share the stage with performer/rocker Mason Pace of Boca Raton’s Mason Pace Band.  Mason will MC the Bash’s new Open Mic competition, which starts at 2:00 PM. Those wishing to perform should drop a note to [email protected] to request stage time.

And don’t forget the boats! The most popular element of the Bash is always boating on the Intracoastal. Organizers predict at least 2,000 rides will be given, many to guests who have never been on the water. Upwards of 15 privately owned boats have been donated for the day by their generous owners. Rides last approximately a half hour on the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway. The US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Auxiliary and City of Boca Raton Marine Patrol will be on hand to assure safety measures are strictly enforced.

Mobility Mats and Beach Fun: Big news this week as the City of Boca Raton gains permission from environmentalist and the State of Florida to leave mobility mats on two of Boca’s beaches year-round. Spanish River Park, home of the Bash, is one of them. South Beach Park is the other. This is a major victory for those with disabilities who have been championing year-round accessibility to the City’s pristine beaches. Bash organizer Jay Van Vechten led the efforts to allow those with mobility challenges the opportunity to enjoy going to the beach 12 months a year. Beach activities are being organized this year by the YMCA of South Palm Beach County. The Y’s Liz Schmidt, Director of Community Water Safety, will have a team to help take people with disabilities into the ocean in floating wheel chairs. She is also organizing beach games and activities.

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