Zionsville Lions Club Fall Festival opens with VIP Carnival

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Shea Weidner, center, takes her first carnival ride at the 2011 VIP Carnival with her brothers, Cruz, left, and Von by her side. (File photo)

By Desiree Williams

The Zionsville Lions Club Carnival will again kick off with the VIP Carnival. It starts at 5 p.m. Sept. 8. The carnival gives families with members who have special needs a chance to experience the festival for free.

“We try to take away the financial burden. We try to take away the social obstacles and just make it a fun night,” said Leigh Ann Akard, Fall Fest VIP and Entertainment chair.

The VIP Carnival is sponsored by the HAWK (Helping All With Kindness) Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes free events throughout the year for families with members who have special needs.

Akard said the carnival is geared toward the entire family. All members are invited, including caregivers and extended family.

“I think it probably means something different for the sibling,” Akard said. “It probably means something different for mom and dad, and definitely means something different for the VIP. But somehow, it all gets wrapped up into this nice package, and they’ve all had this wonderful experience.”

For the first hour, there will be activities in front of the gazebo, including games, information booths, face painting, bounce houses and more. Silly Safari will provide entertainment. Each family will receive a dinner ticket for sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, hot dogs from the Lions Club and cookies provided by the Sheriff’s Dept.

Each VIP will receive $3 in Carnival Cash to use as they please at the carnival. Leo Club members will be present to be designated riders if anyone needs a ride partner.

“Our whole goal is for the family together to create memories and enjoy the All-American tradition of going to the carnival,” Akard said.

Although the event is free, Akard encourages families to register online. For more, visit thehawkfoundation.org.


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