This year, Children’s TherAplay is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Hoe-Down event. The fundraiser is set for Sept. 24 at the organization’s facility at 9919 Towne Rd. in Carmel.
“We’re taking all the fun elements people love about Hoe-Down and turning it up a notch. We’re adding a bigger dance floor and more time to hear live country music from Corey Cox, bringing in a brand-new caterer who will serve up a tasty barbeque dinner, adding more seating for folks to take a seat during the program and featuring not one, but two of our own TherAplay kiddos,” said Emily Sigler, communications manager for Children’s TherAplay. “Of course, we’ll also have our live and silent auction, meet-and-greets with the therapy horses, games, complimentary drinks and all the fun our guests expect each year at Hoe-Down.”
While 2022 is the 20th anniversary of the Hoe-Down, Children’s TherAplay celebrated its 20th anniversary as an organization in 2021.
“When we held our first Hoe-Down in 2002, TherAplay only had a couple therapists and horses and was still figuring out how to attract families to our converted pole barn and encourage them to put their tiny child with a disability on a big horse,” Sigler said. “Our founder, Craig Dobbs, had a vision for TherAplay that has never wavered, and 20 years later we are delivering over 1,000 services every month through physical, occupational and speech therapy, (are) home to a herd of 16 horses and (operating in) a completely renovated and expanded barn and clinic, which allows us to serve our families better than ever.”
Children’s TherAplay relies on philanthropy for about 57 percent of its total annual budget, with the remaining coming from earned therapy income, according to Sigler. In 2021, the Hoe-Down raised about $420,000 for TherAplay, and it’s expected that number will climb this year.
“Hoe-Down is our largest fundraising event all year, so our staff, volunteers and vendors work year-round to ensure we deliver a quality event experience every fall,” Sigler said.
Sigler said children’s lives are changed at Children’s TherAplay every day.
“Whether it’s a child learning to walk for the first time in physical therapy or working hard in speech therapy to better communicate with their family or learning to put their own shirt on by themselves in occupational therapy, every goal achieved means our mission is working,” she said. “Our goal is to provide children with disabilities hope for an independent future, through both clinical therapy and by using the movement of a horse, called hippotherapy. So often children with disabilities hear, ‘You can’t.’ We have an amazing team of therapists who deliver these innovative therapies and remind kiddos every day, ‘You can.’”
Tickets for the Hoe-Down, which cost $125 for general admission, can be purchased at theraplay.ticket.qtego.net/tickets/list.