SAFETY HARBOR — Magic Beans Village swings open the barnyard gates for some down-home fun today from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Come ride one of the horses — Cajun, Buddy, Darwin or Roxy — around a 3-acre trail for a $5 donation.
Discover one-of-a-kind treasures at the Magic Beans Village Foundation Garage Sale.
Savor some grilled hot dogs, chips and sodas for a dollar apiece.
Admission to the event, held at the Magic Beans Village horse farm, 1550 Fourth/M. L. King St., is free.
"The money we raise will go to feed the horses," said Janice Mason, a volunteer acting executive director. "We'd like to raise at least $500."
The foundation has other goals too such as building a handicap ramp. A church has agreed to donate the labor if others donate the materials or cash for the ramp (estimated at $1,100).
Magic Beans Village, located on a 6-acre treed tract of land, is a place where children and adults with physical and mental disabilities can participate in therapeutic horseback riding programs.
It was founded in 2005 by Mason, Gena Hayes, a physical therapy assistant from Largo, Sukhmeet Kaur of St. Petersburg, Daina Graziunas of Clearwater and others. The purpose is to help those affected by autism, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, head trauma, speech delays, separation anxiety and other physical and mental challenges.
"The riding program helps improve their lives and self-confidence," Mason said.
Now the foundation is reaching out to the public with a haystack of new programs. And you won't need a needle to find them.
New offerings include private and group horseback riding lessons, a Monday night riding club, Mommy and Me preschool groups, and summer camps for regular riders and those with special needs.
The facility also will be available for birthday parties and family reunions.
"We are hoping these new programs will make more people aware of the Magic Beans Village and what we do," said Mason. "They will not only introduce more able-bodied children to the fun of horseback riding, but will help make Magic Beans a more inclusive place for all."
Funds raised from the new programs will help the foundation meet operating expenses of $40,000 a year, she hopes. The foundation has had insurance problems in the past, but those have been successfully resolved.
Still, it can be a struggle.
"We are a nonprofit organization with no paid staff," Mason said. "We'd like to raise enough money in the future to pay some employees and increase the amount of programs we can offer to the public."