“It was a beautiful event,” said Maggie DeLuna, who with husband Rene provided the venue for the Lions Club event. “Everyone (who attends) really feels they can relax and just enjoy everything. It’s a wonderful day.”
The event included games for participants of all abilities, a petting zoo, karaoke, helicopter and motorcycle displays as well as photo opportunities with life-size cutouts of, among others, Superman and President Obama. Hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn and s’mores rounded out the menu.
But for the families who look forward to the event each year, the celebration is about more than food and fun. For many of the parents who attend, it’s an opportunity to sit down and share experiences. It also offers them hope.
“The parents who come to the event get a chance to get together and talk,” said Rene. “But they can also see what the future holds when they see the adult children, and that’s comforting to them.”
The Lions day is so important to these families, said Rene, that one lady wrote the DeLunas to share how much her son looks forward to the event each year.
“That lady said that this (Kids Day) is second only to Christmas for her son,” said Rene, who this year added a Santa booth to the mix. “Another mom told me that her son really enjoyed it last year because after he did the karaoke, girls there were clapping and asking for his autograph. Of course, when he went back to school he was disappointed when no one there asked for his autograph.”
However, it’s one family’s story that epitomizes the spirit behind the Lions’ event.
“One mom said that although her son was a wiz at algebra, he still believes in Superman and Santa,” said Rene. “And when he comes here, that’s what he gets. It’s a very rewarding experience.”