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Stable to host GraceWay benefit

ALBANY, Ga. -- On Sept. 24, families in the Albany area will be able to have a good time while contributing to a worthy cause.

Quail Crossing Stables, located on James Pond Road in Leesburg, is hosting a trail ride and fall festival event to benefit GraceWay Recovery Residence -- an Albany substance abuse facility for women.

Those that bring their own horse will be able to ride along the Walden Family Farm grounds, which have trails including mossy oak lanes, James Pond, piney woods, rolling terrain and the Kinchafoonee Creek.

Those wishing to participate are expected to bring proof of a negative Coggins test. Rides will take place beginning at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at a cost of $25, which includes lunch.

"I've been to other trail rides and people always want to ride somewhere different," said Lauren Watson, a member of the Walden family. "There is not a lot of overheard expense when you bring your own horse."

While that is ongoing, there will be a festival taking place on the grounds from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. There will be apple bobbing, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, a jump castle, among other activities.

The petting zoo will include young cows, rabbits, ferrets, goats, chickens and ducks. The zoo, along with the pony rides, are being provided by Lil' Whispers Pony Park in Pelham.

Efforts will be made to keep the two events separate. "We don't want kids running around strange animals," said Watson.

At the festival, the cost for children will be $15 -- which will cover all the activities, including lunch. Lunches for adults will be $5, which will consist of a hot dog, drink and cookie.

Last year's event was held in December, at which time there were only 15 participants. This year, the benefit's coordinators are hoping to do better.

"Last year we did it around Christmas, and we think it was the wrong time," Watson said. "We are hoping to have 75 this year."

There is also a silent auction taking place in which businesses such as feed stores, veterinarians and photography studios have donated items or services to be auctioned off up until 12:30 p.m. that day.

"There's more people suffering from addiction than you realize," Watson said when speaking to the significance of the benefit. "It's important to help people the right way."

Liz Dixon, development director at GraceWay, said the officials at the organization are grateful for the Waldens opening up their farm to raise money for the GraceWay cause.

"(The Waldens) thought it would be a nice outreach for family fun," Dixon said. "They wanted to reach out and help GraceWay.

"This is a way for the community to combat addiction and have a great time."

All of the proceeds from the benefit will go to fund the GraceWay Indigent Care Recovery Scholarship, which gives financial assistance to low-income women seeking substance abuse recovery.

"My (fundraising) goal is to raise enough money to pay for the first four months of one woman's stay," Dixon said.

To RSVP, contact Watson at (229) 343-3714 or emailing lwaldenwatsonyahoo.com. Area businesses or individuals interested in donating items or services to the silent auction may also contact Watson.