Every year in July, Hopewell hosts an annual event that they refer to as the "Freedom Festival." And it lives up to its name. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of disabilities of any sort. The clients within Hopewell team up with staff members to make the event possible.
Generally the event takes place in the middle of July, and is located in the parking lot of the Hopewell Industries in Coshocton County. In the parking lot, they have a huge tent set up to create shade for everyone, a dunk tank, a stage in the front of the event, a grill with food, and inflatable obstacle courses to play on. The event is open to the public and free food is available during lunch time. Free T-shirts are also handed out, while supplies last. The event normally kicks off around 9 a.m. and ends by about 2 p.m.
Throughout the day, speeches from the clients are given, recognition of clients' achievements throughout the year, music is played, games are played, and the dunk tank is being used. Last year they even gave pony rides for free the whole day! Popcorn is handed out for free throughout the day as well.
While all of the free handouts and good company with friends are enjoyable, the purpose of the day is even better. Increasing awareness of disabilities is the reason for the day and event! It is always a joy to listen to clients and staff read their prepared speeches to do just that.
Clients from all other surrounding counties are also invited to the event to help spread the awareness! Just when you think that you have met the most precious individuals ever, the new people you meet from other counties is always a treat! Getting the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a conversation with your new friends is always a blessing.
One of the best parts of the day is seeing the smiles on the faces of the individuals that work so hard to make the event a success. The clients work so hard each year making their speeches, designing plans for the event, etc. To see a good turn out for their sake is awesome! This year, the event is set for July 19th and I hear everything is all set in stone and ready to go! Every client that I have talked to is so ready for the event, for they enjoy it every year!