EARLY— Next Friday’s Community Night at McDonald Park will have a host of activities, but its grandest might be a booth set up by the Early High School Leadership Team.
As part of its project to create a permanent city improvement project, the team will unveil its plans for a sound garden at McDonald Park, which Early Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shannan Burch said would be a great addition for the community, especially for its special needs children.
“That is part of their project through the Texas Midwest Community Network group,” Burch said. “They are currently going around to area businesses and getting donations and they are really doing well so far. The sound garden is going to be target to special needs children both physically and mentally. In adults, it has been proved to be soothing to the mind. The nearest sound garden is located in Seymour. We’re looking at having the sound garden completely built with an unveiling around the first week of September.”
Throughout the night, EHS leadership team members Zane Hobson and Breanna Brown as well as 2019 team members Madison Green and Vance-Cady Stewart will present their project that, according to a press release from TMCN, came about after the students noticed there is no park dedicated to special needs children in the area. Considering McDonald Park is also the location of the area’s only special needs Easter egg hunt, it seemed the proper place.
“Alder’s Gate has been great … The hunt is open to any special needs kid,” Burch said. “It doesn’t matter where you live. They welcome anybody who would like to come. It’s really grown. My son is also special needs and I have gotten to be part of that and watch it grow. The sound garden is a special project. Having an autistic son, I know how important sensory and motor skills are to autistic children as well as activities for wheelchair bound kids can participate in. We think the sound garden will be beneficial to the community and impact up to 50,000 kids and families in the surrounding areas.”
Along with the sound garden booth, Burch also hopes to showcase the park’s new walking trail, benches and improvements to lighting and landscape. The event begins at 5 p.m. with free hot dogs, chips and drinks donated by the Comanche Electric Cooperative. Throughout the dinner musician Zachary Webb will provide entertainment along with free bounce houses. At 7 p.m., there will be candy bar bingo with cards going for $1 and a showing of the Pixar film ‘Coco’ at 8:30 p.m.
“I believe this is going to be the first time we’ve ever done an outdoor movie in Early or Brown County for us,” Burch said. “That movie is sponsored by Daybreak and Lee Hoffpauir of Goldthwaite. During this, the chamber will be selling raffle tickets for three $1,000 vacations that will be given away just prior to the movie starting.”
Each trip will include three-day, two-night stays at either the JW Marriott in San Antonio, a family cabin inside Jellystone Park in Burleson and the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. Burch said the winner of the first drawing has first choice of the three trips, followed by the second drawing winner who will select from the remaining trips and the third winner gets the remaining trip. Burch believes the event will give the public an opportunity come to the park and see all of the effort that went into transforming the area that once hosted EHS football games into a regional attraction.
“Family Fun Night was developed in an effort to help bring the community together and also showcase all of the new changes that have happened and are going to happen at McDonald Park,” Burch said. “The transformation of that park in the last year has been incredible. We wanted to create an event to get people out there to showcase that. With the summer months coming up, and everybody’s finances being tight, you can always grab your kids, a cooler with a picnic lunch and go out to the park for free.”