“Don’t postpone joy” was the founder’s message on a sign as cars entered the park for the Beep Beep Bash for People With Disabilities.
“This was our love letter for people with special needs. We wanted to make sure they knew we are still here,” said Lowell Van Vechten, whose late husband Jay founded the first Bash 13 years ago.
The May 1 morning drive-thru in Countess de Hoernle Park was never expected to draw the thousands who come to the usual Bash and boat rides in Spanish River Park. A food truck substituted for a barbecue, and taped music and bubbles stood in for bands, speakers and performers at the Boca Raton Boating & Beach Bash for People With Disabilities.
But the usual army of Bash volunteers, and Rotary Club Downtown members, turned out to welcome families and hand swag bags and other goodies through open car windows. They were joined by volunteer princesses and superheroes in full regalia.
This was Mary Margaret Fattel’s eighth year as a Bash volunteer. “It’s a way to keep the Bash in front of our community and honor Jay,” she said, under one of the open tents. “It’s Jay’s legacy,” added volunteer Carole Boucard.
“I’m so appreciative of everyone who gave their time. My Dad would have been so proud and happy,” Nick Van Vechten said.
Next up for the American Disabilities Foundation, which stages the event, is planning a return to next year’s Boating & Beach Bash, said managing director Liz Schmidt. They’ve gotten reach-outs from other places to start similar events and hope to grow the foundation, she added. https://boatingbeachbash.com/about/
By Marci Shatzman