HAMLET – Despite the closure of Cordova School, two local women helped keep a tradition alive for several youths in the community.
On Saturday, Tammy Benoist and Cheryl Rapisardi held the first of what they said will be a reoccurring annual event for children with special needs.
The inaugural fall festival took place on the grounds of the Outreach for Jesus church in Hamlet. Pastor Marvin Taylor offered the facility so the special needs children could enjoy the Fall Festival.
Benoist and Rapisardi decided only a month ago to put the festival together, since Cordova School students have been moved to other schools within Richmond County. After much work, and with the help of Jackie Ussery and Judy Glaze, the event came together and the deadline was met.
Among some of the others volunteering at the event were employees from FirstHealth of the Carolinas, nursing students from Richmond Community College, as well as a nurse instructor.
Carlotta Rivers, a volunteer who came from Bennettsville, S.C., is a full-time registered nurse that has opened Party Time Characters in Bennettsville. She dressed as a Minion for the event.
“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for children with special needs and have always wanted to do something,” Rivers said. “When I first saw the Facebook post about this event, it was the perfect opportunity to use my service to help with the event.”
The children had various activities to keep them entertained, which included a bounce house, a ball pit, putt-putt golf, an obstacle course, face painting, bowling, go fish, a bag toss, and many others. There was a cake walk and a concession stand. A raffle for a red velvet cake was also held.
“Even though the turnout wasn’t exactly what we would have wanted it to be, it was worth it all to watch the children have fun and enjoy themselves,” Benoist said. “We look forward to doing it again next year.”