Make us your home page
Instagram

Fifth annual Autism Fest set for Saturday at Springstead High

Durbin

Durbin

SPRING HILL — It started as a small project spearheaded by an International Baccalaureate student at Springstead High School, and included just a handful of vendors to promote awareness for disorders falling under the autism spectrum.

Last year, with help from the Inspire Foundation, the event became more of a family musical event and grew to 70 vendors and sponsors. It drew more than 600 visitors.

Despite its success, Springstead decided to ax the event, so the Inspire Foundation teamed up with the Hernando County Family YMCA to keep it alive.

"We didn't want it to end," said Jason Rhodes, chairman of the Inspire Foundation, which is based in Port Richey.

So when the fifth annual Autism Fest takes place on Saturday at Springstead, it promises to be bigger and better than ever, featuring a concert by American Idol's James Durbin.

"We are excited to have James Durbin," Rhodes said. "He has affected so many lives. He shows people that this label is just a word. It doesn't define who you are."

Durbin, who has Tourette syndrome and Asperger syndrome, was one of the most popular contestants on Season 10 of American Idol, finishing in fourth place.

Proceeds from the event will benefit special needs children who attend Camp Coast at the YMCA, as well as music and art programs through the Inspire Foundation, including a new program, the Inspire Initiative, which will provide 125 kids with a weekly music or art class throughout the school year.

The Inspire Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was started by Rhodes and his wife, Cristine, whose son, Jacob, is autistic. Jacob stopped talking at age 2, and communicated with his parents only through music. Jacob, who turns 15 next week, is now fully verbal and is the founder of the Junior Members section of the foundation.

"He is the reason we started this," Rhodes said.

Along with Durbin, Saturday's event will include the Tampa alternative rock band Hope Darling, as well as singer/songwriter Nikki Dermott and entertainer Mr. Tommy (aka Tommy Girvin, the wildly popular children's entertainer who, until recently, was the lead guitarist for 1980s icon Eddie Money for nearly 30 years). The Tampa Yankees Street Team will also be on hand with its mascot, Blue. Papa John's will provide food.

The festival will include a game truck with a variety of activities and games for kids, face painting and raffles. There also will be train rides for the children, as well as about 70 vendors.

"The community has really come together to put this together," Rhodes said. "This is an event for everyone, not just those touched by autism."

>>if you go

Fifth annual Autism Fest

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Springstead High School, 3300 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill

Admission: Free, although people planning to attend are encouraged to register in advance by using the eventbrite link at theinspirefoundationfl.org. Wristbands for unlimited rides and games are $10; single game and ride tickets are $1.

Information: Call (352) 410-3332 or (352) 688-9622. Visit theinspirefoundationfl.org.

Fifth annual Autism Fest set for Saturday at Springstead High 06/21/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 6:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light

    Florida

    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  2. Ticket window: Shania Twain, Chicago, George Benson

    Music & Concerts

    Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:

    LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Singer Shania Twain performs during the debut of her residency show "Shania: Still the One" at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on December 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
  3. Plan your weekend Aug. 25-27: Craig Morgan, Wearable Art 13, SNL's Pete Davidson, Rodeo Fest

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    USF

    Pete Davidson: Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will headline this year's University of South Florida Round-Up Comedy Show, a back-to-school tradition at USF. Expect to hear about his recent trip to rehab, since he's known for his confessional …

    The 12th annual Wearable art Fashion Show was held at the Dunedin Fine Art Center on Saturday evening, August 27, 2016.
DAVID W DOONAN | Special To The Times
  4. Pasco Events for Aug. 25-31

    Events

    25 Friday

    Feeding Pasco's Elderly hosts inaugural Leadership Breakfast: The Pasco County Elderly Nutrition Division/Feeding Pasco's Elderly will host this east Pasco event to mirror the Ambassador's Breakfast fundraising event that has been held the past two years on the county's west side. County …

  5. Local craft beer of the week: Cherry Pastelitos, Coppertail Brewing Co. in Tampa

    Bars & Spirits

    On Saturday, Tampa's Coppertail Brewing Co. will celebrate its third anniversary with a Florida weisse festival, showcasing densely fruited tart wheat beers from more than a dozen Tampa Bay area breweries including, of course, many of its own brews in this summer-friendly style.

    Center: Coppertail Brewing’s Cherry Pastelitos. Flanking it are Coppertail’s BOMP (blood orange, mango, passionfruit), left, and Pinky Swear (pink lemonade-flavored).