Tickets are going fast, as few remain for the upcoming Big Hearts fundraiser benefiting Extra Special People
Athens, GA -- Extra Special People (ESP) will be holding its 12th annual Big Hearts fundraiser at the Classic Center Theater on Feb. 9, 2019.
Big Hearts, voted Athens Best Fundraising Event 2 years in a row, is soon to come to bat. Through a performance, silent auction and banquet, the evening shines a light on children and young adults on The Classic Center stage as they leave their disabilities in the wings. The goal of the event is to fund summer camp, allowing every child of every ability and financial need the opportunity to experience the joys of camp.
“This night is simply spectacular,” said Executive Director, Laura Whitaker. “Not only do our individuals make you laugh and cry, but I love hearing from new people after their first Big Heart's experience. The joy of the event is palpable and contagious.”
The pageant portion of Big Hearts features dance numbers, skits and opportunities to highlight each of ESP’s 70 performers and contestants. Contestants will be escorted on stage by familiar faces including pageant queens and UGA football players. Between contestant groups, the ESP performers will take to the stage sharing a story in line with this year’s Big Hearts’ baseball theme. “Our fictional baseball team, the Hipsters, sets out to form a team unlike anything baseball has ever seen. There’s just one obstacle---some people believe baseball isn’t made for everyone,” says Program Coordinator, Kalon Carpenter.
After twelve years, the pageant remains a special night full of surprises for spectators. These include Fox Sports South host and Atlanta Braves field reporter Kelsey Wingert overseeing the pageant as one of the special emcees. A mystery emcee, one Georgia fans will be excited to welcome, promises to surprise pageant attendees. Another public figure, recently elected and still under wraps, will join the panel of Big Hearts judges.
Another unique aspect of this year’s Big Hearts is the theme: Big Hearts at Bat.
Whitaker shared, “This year, we are thrilled to share with the community our love for America's pastime and our dream for ESP’s future baseball complex.” The At Bat theme recognizes ESP’s ongoing relationship with the Miracle League, a national organization that brings accessible baseball and inclusive play to individuals of all abilities. ESP is in the process of bringing a Miracle League field to the Athens community. Several exciting Miracle League announcements including the proposed location will be made during the Pageant.
Big Hearts is an evening that brings friends and family together for a cause that’s close to the hearts of Athens’ natives. Attendance is open to the public on February 9 at the Classic Center Theater. Pageant tickets can be purchased through the Classic Center box office.
Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in more than 30 counties surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1986. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 300 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive.
Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Camp Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats, and events for children and families of all abilities.