Getting into the theme of the weekend, ResCare (700 E. 14th St., Newton) will be hosting its first ever "Kentucky Derby Days" community event from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday — with plenty of fun for the whole family in store.
"It's going to kind of be like a carnival, but not a carnival. We're going to have different kinds of games, face painting, cheap concessions — nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, cotton candy — and we are going to have a little petting zoo," said ResCare Day Services Program Manager Jill Rowland.
ResCare often plans a number of community events each year, including spaghetti feeds, drive-in movie nights, arts and crafts fairs and more.
While the "Kentucky Derby Days" is something new, it will share a unifying thread with many of ResCare's other events, as it will act as a fundraiser for a community organization (New Hope Shelter) — with the price of admission being the donation of one canned good or hygiene product.
"All that will be donated to the homeless shelter, along with all the profits from concessions," Rowland said.
Part of the company's goal, Rowland noted, is for each site to host at least 10 events each year — an area where ResCare Newton has gone above and beyond in its commitment to giving back to the community.
Community members who come out to the event Saturday will be treated to $1 concessions (served by ResCare staff and clients), a petting zoo featuring goats, rabbits, a miniature horse, etc. and a number of themed activities — from face painting to horse races with pool noodles to the making of Kentucky Derby Hats.
Not only is it a way to offer a day of fun to the community, but it also gives community members a way to engage with ResCare and its clients (serving the developmentally disabled) — many of whom, Rowland noted, are their neighbors.
"We don't have a whole lot of kid friendly activities here, I don't think, so it's some way for somebody to come out and see what we do and meet our persons served because our people are no different than anybody else," Rowland said. "They love to be in the atmosphere of the community, and we're moving more out into the community. We're opening several houses, and you wouldn't even know that they were your next-door neighbor; they're just no different."
So far, Rowland said, reaction to the new community event has been highly positive — with many people reaching out to volunteer, whether it be their time or equipment (like the use of a sno cone and cotton candy machine).
To see that support has been awesome, according to Rowland, and she is hopeful attendees at "Kentucky Derby Days" will enjoy themselves and consider coming out and supporting ResCare's other community events.
"We just want them to come out and have a great time, help support the homeless shelter and come to future events to help support the other charities that we choose," Rowland said.