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Special Olympics festival a real hit in Lee County

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

LEESBURG -- Despite forecasts of rain, it shined all day on the Special Olympics Fundraiser Festival.

"We could sure use the rain for the farms," said Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals, whose office sponsored the fundraiser. "But I believe God will bless us and hold off until this is over."

Other law enforcement agencies supported the special athletes and their Olympic Games by raising money in connection with Krispy Kreme Doughnut stores. Lee County has no Krispy Kreme so to support the cause they pulled out the stops and held the festival Saturday.

Instead of doughnuts, there were more than 35 cakes to be won in a traditional cakewalk contest. The contest is similar to musical chairs and the winner picks a cake.

By about 2 p.m. there were only about 12 cakes left, said Danielle Rudd.

The ones that went fast were the homemade donated cakes such as an Italian wedding cake and a chocolate-fudge masterpiece.

Somehow the festival managed to hold a cakewalk without a single red velvet cake as a prize.

"I don't know how that happened," Rudd said. "But we gave a way a lot of cakes."

If you have cake, then there must be pie. The pies at the festival were really plates filled with shaving cream thrown at a volunteer victim.

"I just volunteered because my friend's parents are with the sheriff's office," said shaving-cream-face-covered Carlton Thomas, a Lee High School student. "It is just fun thing to do."

There was plenty of other fun at the Old Lee County Soccer Field on the 100 block of Starksville Avenue Saturday.

It was the unofficial opening of Butterfly Kisses Special Needs Play Park.

The park was built in April by more than 140 volunteers headed by Traci Henry, a mother with a special needs child.

Special needs and other children slid, swung and generally had a great time on the park's new equipment during the festival.

"I wanted to have the park done so that it would be open in conjunction with the festival," Henry said. "It is for all families to have fun and share memories. Today is the first day children could use it."