The fifth annual Special Abilities Family Fun Event (SAFFE) Day event has been scheduled for Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the World Riches Acre.
“I think it's been a very good awakening for everyone that's involved,” Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows said.
The event is free and open to the public.
SAFFE Day helps people overcome barriers and fears.
SAFFE is on the lookout for Everyday Heroes – special needs children and adults, their families and caregivers – to visit downtown Kilgore to find many activities tailored to special needs.
“A day when they can come downtown and they are not looked upon as being different,” Bellows said. “This is the fifth year. Can you believe it? It gets bigger and better every year.”
SAFFE Day was created in September 2012 by Kilgore Volunteer Fire Department.
“SAFFE Day is a day for people with special needs, young and old, to come and enjoy activities and events that are specifically geared toward them, with a focus on what they can do rather than what they cannot do,” Kilgore Fire Department Administrative Assistant Kristi Simpson said.
Community-funded, the event includes a variety of games, challenges and opportunities that can be enjoyed by people with or without special needs.
“We invite our special guests to be a hero, for their family and caretakers to participate,” Simpson said.
In addition to the main event SAFFE Day's organizers will continue spreading the word about their guests through a red-carpet premiere of the documentary Everyday Heroes. Shot by director Chip Hale and his crew from Overton Films in the fall of 2015, the 40-minute film features volunteers, firefighters, special needs guests and others to tell the SAFFE story.
Nominated for Best Documentary Short at the Austin Revolution Film Festival, SAFFE Day's local showing of Everyday Heroes is set for Thursday, Sept. 15, at Kilgore's 4 Star Cinema.
SAFFE Day's 2016 Special Needs Ambassador 11-year-old Ryan Bailey will be on-hand along with the event's mascot, Blazze, Thursday night before officially opening SAFFE Day at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17.
Tickets to the Thursday night event should be reserved in advance by calling Simpson at 903-988-4112.
SAFFE Day organizers will gladly accept donations throughout the events.