ACCESS (Adapting and Changing Children’s Environments with Successful Solutions), a locally founded non-profit, has announced that the 6th annual Boo Fest will be held on the grounds of Lakeview Regional Medical Center (95 Judge Tanner Blvd.), on Saturday, October 24th. The event benefits children with disabilities but is open to all children and their families. Boo Fest begins at 10 AM and continues until 3pm. Families with children with special needs may enter the event early at 9:30 AM. Admission is only $2. All proceeds raised from Boo Fest admission and sponsorship fees assist families of children with disabilities with purchasing home or van modifications, assistive devices and adaptive equipment that have been denied by private insurance and/or Medicaid. In its six years, ACCESS has raised over $125,000 for the disabled community from the Boo Fest event.
“We started this event six years ago as a way for all children in our community to experience the fun of trick-or-treating,” says Dr. Aaron Karlin, ACCESS Chairman. “It has grown to nearly 10,000 attendees and more than 60 trick-or-treat houses and castles for the kids to visit.” The wheelchair accessible walking path around the duck ponds and green space adjacent to Lakeview Regional Medical Center allows children of all abilities to go house-to-house collecting treats. The day is packed with lots of complimentary, Fall-themed activities, which include pumpkin decorating at the pumpkin patch, face painting, all-abilities games, a photo booth, music and dancing provided by a DJ, and much, much more! Louisiana State Police Troop L even participates in the fun! Children are encouraged to wear their favorite Halloween costume and take part in the annual Boo Fest costume contest for the title of “Scariest,” “Most Original,” “Crowd Favorite,” and “Best Group” costume.
“Ever since I started my own business I've been looking for ways to give back to this community,” states Jim Silvestri owner of The Next Level Physical and Occupational Therapy. In 2009 he won title of Most Scariest House, and since then has joined the ACCESS board and helps to organize Boo Fest and Sweet Soiree. “ACCESS provided me with that opportunity. BooFest is an amazing event and participating in the contests continues to be so much fun. Especially as the level of skill and creativity for these coveted awards has become extremely competitive. I am truly blessed to be part of this wonderful organization." Local businesses and members of the community may get involved in Boo Fest by sponsoring a trick-or-treat house or castle. Each sponsor will receive and then decorate a 5-foot tall cardboard “gingerbread-style” house or castle from which they will also hand out candy and other give-aways. Cash prizes will be awarded to winning trick-or-treat houses in the “Scariest,” “Most Creative,” and “Kids’ Choice” categories. Placement of the houses and castles will be in three Halloween-themed “neighborhoods” in addition to locations along the walking path. Businesses are asked to provide their own candy or non-edible treats for distribution. Varying levels of Boo Fest sponsorships are available to area businesses/families interested in participating: Great Pumpkin ($5,000), Boo Town Sponsor ($2,500), Haunted Mansion ($1,000), Haunted Castle ($500) or Haunted House ($250). For more information about ACCESS or Boo Fest sponsorships, contact Dr. Aaron Karlin at email@example.com or at 985-718-7532. Sponsorship details, sponsorship forms, as well as additional information about Boo Fest can be found at www.ACCESSlouisiana.org.
Back for a fourth year, the Northshore Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) Annual Chili Challenge will take place during Boo Fest. NABOR is the non-profit professional association of agents, brokers and affiliate members in St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. This is NABOR’s 8th Annual Chili Challenge. The event is open to all interested in a fun afternoon demonstrating their culinary talents, while supporting programs that benefit children with disabilities and their families. Part of the proceeds from the Chili Challenge will be donated to ACCESS. Teams are invited to participate in the Chili Challenge, with 1st and 2nd place winners, as well as an award for Best Booth Showmanship. The cost to enter a team is $150, with separate event sponsorships also available.
NABOR Board President & Chili Co-Chair, Wendy Hinton, of Camellia City Realty is encouraging the Northshore community to come out and support this tremendous event. NABOR is excited about this continuing partnership with ACCESS, as it also supports the mission of the NABOR organization in serving the community. For more information on the Chili Challenge, contact the NABOR Office at (985) 674-4233, or Wendy Hinton, (985) 290-7163.