PREVIEW OF ABILITYFIRST 2020 FESTIVAL OF FALL COMES TO YOU! (THIS COMING WEEK-END!)
Just when we’re all ready to tear our hair out from boredom during the past six months of isolation, I have something really fun, interesting, and potentially delicious—and most importantly, worthwhile—for us all to do this Sunday evening, from the comfort and safety of our very own homes!
It’s a virtual event from, and to benefit, AbilityFirst, an organization that provides programs, services, and support to children and adults with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy in the Greater Los Angeles area, the San Gabriel Valley, and Long Beach. The organization explains, “Now is a time when our participants are searching for ways to find community and routine. AbilityFirst is there for them providing support in positive engaging ways including remote coaching, fun on-line activities, Zoom dance parties, and other creative learning tools. Our priority is ensuring the health and well-being of our participants and staff as we work to implement the mission of AbilityFirst during these most unusual times.”
The AbilityFirst 2020 Festival of Fall Comes To You! event happens this Sunday, September 13th, at 6PM, and it literally does come to you this year! The visuals are on the AbilityFirst YouTube channel and also on their Facebook page, which means you can join the festivities even if you don’t live in LA. (All the pertinent information is on their website, which you can access right here: www.abilityfirst.org/events/festival-of-fall.)
Since the event is usually a fabulous food fest, (in non-pandemic times when gatherings were normal,) there’s also a clever possible dining component to this one. Here are the four different ways to participate, (which is where the “potentially delicious” part comes in.):
1) Being a VIP should be really fun because it includes delivery—to your home!—of a DYI Pizza Kit from Blaze Pizza, along with a six-pack of beer! Mr. X and I are doing this one, (although he told me he also wants someone to come here and make it for us! But he already has that someone—your truly! I’ll let you know how it turns-out on Twitter and IG, both @majorcelebrity.)
2) A really sumptuous way to join the festivities, while generously helping others, is to purchase a Table, which you can do for two to eight people. You’ll have a choice of three restaurants, who will…deliver a soup-to-nuts meal, including a bottle or two of wine, right to your door! Those eateries are Faith & Flower in Downtown LA, Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena, and Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills. (Lawry’s is the only one of those with which I’m familiar, so I can’t advise you on this issue.)
3) The most generous level, of course, is to be a Sponsor. If you have a company or something to promote, it’s a lovely way to get your name out there.
4) And if this woeful pandemic has been negatively affecting your pocketbook, the kind people at AbilityFirst still want you to be able to join in, so the majority of the virtual aspect of this event is complimentary to everyone this year! You simply watch it all on your very own device, in your PJs! General Admission ticket holders will be able to see everything except the House Tour, (which I’ll tell you about in a minute.) There will be a juicy silent auction, (which I believe is already on their site, if you’d like to check it out now,) a cooking demonstration from Chef Michael Hung of Faith and Flower, and a mixology demo from The Raymond 1886, along with a few more surprises. It all adds up to an entertaining way to spend the notoriously slow middle Sunday night between the Labor Day and Emmys week-ends.
In addition to the fun food fare, the ticket purchasers, (outside of the comped General Admission ticket holders,) will have the extra perk of being treated to an exclusive, behind-the-scenes virtual tour of the Laurabelle A. Robinson Estate in Pasadena. This historic home, which dates back to 1905, is rarely open to the public, so this will be special; being a major fan of interesting architecture, I’m really looking forward to this element of the event!
But what I consider to be the most important and satisfying component is that if you do any of the three donation levels, or purchase an item or two from the silent auction, you’ll be helping a big segment of the population who really need the assistance. I promise you, helping others will put some pep in your step this week-end. And warmth in your heart. Back in the day, when I was doing my TV show, one of the best opportunities I received because of it was being one of the celebs at the Los Angeles Special Olympics. I got to give out medals (which, happily, were won by every single player,) sign autographs, take pictures with all the athletes, and be the recipient of tons of bear hugs! The best part of all that was the conversations I had with the always-happy competitors. It was all sooo uplifting. I looked forward to that week-end all year.
And now you can have a similarly wonderful time this week-end by being a part of the AbilityFirst 2020 Festival of Fall Comes To You! All the proceeds from the virtual happening will directly benefit AbilityFirst. Times like this are really challenging to an organization like this one whose existence is to help others. As their website tells us, they provide “a variety of programs designed to help people with disabilities achieve their full potential throughout their lives. AbilityFirst does this by creating targeted programming to help an individual successfully transition from childhood to adult life; providing employment preparation, training, and experience; building social connections and independence; and offering both their participants and their caregivers an opportunity to refresh and recharge through their recreational activities. AbilityFirst’s person-centered programs empower individuals to discover what is important to them in their lives, and to develop the skills that are important for them to achieve their goals.”
In a recent documentary, Prince Harry expressed a hope that society in general will “encourage and accept” people with disabilities, a sentiment I whole-heartedly echo. So to that end, I hope that all of you reading this will join me in supporting AbilityFirst this Sunday, on whatever level you can.
For more info, and to sign-up for this Sunday’s convivial virtual event, please go to www.abilityfirst.org/events/festival-of-fall.