Sunday, December 3, 2023

Boca Boating & Beach Bash Is on the Way!

The countdown is on for the 12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities on March 1 at Spanish River Park—with 6,000 guests expected.  

For anyone living under a rock, this event, which was “adopted” by Boca locals Jay and Lowell Van Vechten in 2009 from the City of Boca Raton Advisory Board for People with Disabilities, is the largest all-free day dedicated to people with disabilities and their caregivers. It’s a day for everyone to go on boat rides and have lunch and listen to music and otherwise have nothing but fun.

Which doesn’t happen very often.

This is what’s on tap for this year:

• Boat rides along the Intracoastal with everything from pontoons (the Freedom Boat Club is bringing extra this year!) to yachts. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

• A trolley shuttle and a two Catabello Express mini-trains—ADA-accessible—to take guests from the parking lot to the Bash area. The trolley and Express mini-train will run continuously during the entire duration of the event until 3:30 p.m.

National Anthem by Kellye Cash, former Miss America and niece of country super star Johnny Cash.

• More accessibility for those on the autism spectrumthrough new featureslike “Quiet Comfort/Break” zones and free “comfort supplies,” such as ear plugs, sensory toys and sunglasses for guests. The grant will also allow for the purchase of developmental play items and crafts for the Bash’s Kids Zone.  

Kechi Okwuchi

• Entertainment by Kechi Okwuchi, a Nigerian-American singer and motivational speaker who was severely burned when Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 crashed in Nigeria in 2005. Okwuchi was a finalist on the 12th season of America’s Got Talent in 2017, and in the 2019 AGT’s Champions rendition.

• Country and western entertainment by Rion Paige, a finalist on the X Factor who has a rare condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which causes permanent damage to her arms, resulting in her hands being in a fixed, bent position.

• Other diversions include beach access, sporting events, ponies for petting, costumed action heroes, local entertainment, wheelchair yoga, miniature train rides, a Kids Fun Zone, food, music, a vendors’ row, and dance parties.

To donate or learn more, visit

Marie Speed
Marie Speed
Marie Speed is group editor of all JES publications, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Worth Avenue, Mizner’s Dream and the annual publication for the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. She also oversees editorial operations of the company’s Salt Lake City magazines. Her community involvement has ranged from work with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce to a longtime board member position at Caridad Center. She is also on the George Snow Scholarship Fund review committee. She is a past officer of the Florida Magazine Association and a member of Class XVII of Leadership Florida. In her spare time, Marie enjoys South Florida’s natural world through hiking and kayaking, and she is an avid reader and an enthusiastic cook.

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