The sixth annual fundraiser and awareness event will be Sept. 13 and 14 at the Horizon Field in the Acworth Sports Complex, 4000 S. Main St., Acworth.
It’s expected to attract more than 2,000 participants for a good cause, where proceeds benefit the special needs athletic association, Horizon League, and helps pay for equipment for the participants as well as maintenance for the only special-needs ball field in Cobb County.
“The biggest thing for us is that these athletes get out there and compete and it’s just amazing to watch them play,” said Capt. Tony Bailey with Acworth Police.
“It just shows that there’s something bigger than us, more important than us and to see these kids have the opportunity to play recreational sports alongside their siblings, it kind of puts everything into perspective.”
In the last five years, the Acworth department has raised more than $100,000 so that hundreds of special needs athletes could play sports.
Bailey said many of the young athletes would not otherwise have a venue to participate in an organized sports league.
The September event kicks off Friday night with music by Aspen Countryman and Kaitlin Stark, and that’s also when families will take to the field running and walking the bases for 24 straight hours.
After dark, a movie will be played on the big screen and teams can sign up to participate in the all-night kickball tournament.
Bailey said they expect 20-plus teams from area high schools, colleges and local businesses to sign up for the kickball tournament this year, and people can register their teams the day of the event.
It’s free for admission, but donations are encouraged.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, Allatoona High School’s Junior ROTC cadets will present the colors, accompanied by the local harmonic quartet Bald-4-Him.
Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Pete Smith will throw out the first pitch to kick off the fall league and the rest of the day is expected to be packed with family entertainment including bounce houses, concessions, raffles and a silent auction that includes sports memorabilia and other items from local merchants and vendors.
“It’s so special to be able to go out there for this event,” said Jennifer Still, a sales manager at Days Chevrolet in Acworth.
The north Cobb dealership sponsors Horizon League teams annually and she coaches a kickball and baseball team with the program.
For more information, “like” the Acworth Police Department page on Facebook, or contact Bailey at (770) 974-1232.
About the Horizon League
Horizon League was started in 2006, three years before the special needs field was built in the Acworth Sports Complex.
There are about 500 athletes who register annually to play in the league’s baseball and kickball programs.
The league is open to youth and young adults ages 5 and up and teams are broken up by age groups. Games are non-competitive and each player on the roster gets on base before the opposing team gets to kick.
They also offer clinics for golf, soccer and tennis, in addition to a walking and therapeutic yoga club.
Horizon Field, which cost about $1 million to construct, was fully paid for with the help of donations from many local businesses, the city of Acworth and the Acworth Police Department.
The operating budget is now fully funded by donations from sponsors and the September fundraiser.
To make a donation to the program or for more information, visit acworth.org/horizon-league or contact Lauren Ham at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (770) 917-1234.