SAFFE Day celebrates special needs community this weekend

Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows visits with Audrey Endicott at SAFFE Day 2016.
Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows visits with Audrey Endicott at SAFFE Day 2016.
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Be SAFFE, Johnny Bellows: for Kilgore’s fire chief, Christmas comes early, and he’s counting down the hours to Saturday morning.

The sixth annual Special Abilities Family Fun Event Day begins at 9 a.m. Sept. 16, specially-crafted once again for children and adults with special needs.

This year’s theme is “Stronger Together,” and SAFFE Day’s volunteers – who took on the nonprofit event’s planning from Kilgore Fire Department – are pulling together to craft a warm welcome for hundreds of visitors to Commerce Street Saturday.

“When a community comes together to love and support each other, we are all encouraged and become stronger,” the SAFFE Day organizer reminded their registered guests this week. “It is an opportunity to bring people with all sorts of special abilities together, along with their caregivers and families. Last year’s event brought close to 3,500 participants to Kilgore.”

With SAFFE Day itself set each year on the third Saturday in September, this year’s events once again kick-off a little early: the annual festival’s Family Movie Night will feature “How to Train Your Dragon” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening, tied to an encore showing of the SAFFE documentary “Everyday Heroes.”

The movie night, like all SAFFE Day activities, is free for special needs individuals and families.

While the organizers’ “Everyday Heroes” with special needs are the main guests, the wider community is welcome to join in Saturday’s five hours of festivities beginning at 9 a.m. near the World’s Richest Acre.

SAFFE Day’s opening ceremonies begin at 9:45 a.m. this year, including Kilgore Fire Department’s Color Guard to present the flags, a performance of the National Anthem, a welcome from Bellows and the introduction of SAFFE Day Ambassadors Audrey Endicott and Kyle Plunk to cut the ribbon on the 2017 event.

For more information or to register a special needs guests for the event, log on to SAFFEday.org or visit “SAFFE Day – Kilgore, TX” on Facebook.com.

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