Auburn residents will have a chance to contribute to an exceptional nonprofit for those in our community with special needs while also enjoying some good tunes and tasty food.
The third annual Eggs on the Plains will be held next Saturday at Watson Brothers Patio and Hearth in Ogletree Village to benefit the nonprofit Exceptional Foundation of East Alabama, which was established to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are too old to go to the public school system.
"It is the happiest place in Auburn, that’s what the Exceptional Foundation is," said Samantha Bradshaw, director of development at the Exceptional Foundation. "A lot of our participants have been sitting at home for 20 years not really doing a whole lot. So when we opened, they started coming to us and we keep them busy, busy. We have so much fun."
The event will feature 24 teams competing in a Big Green Egg cook-off, with past participants preparing everything from wild game and chili to chicken wings and scallops.
"I participated in a cook team with the Down syndrome moms, and we made pineapple upside-down cake on the grill," said Bradshaw. "We won the Taster’s Choice Award last year, the Upside-Down Moms did, because we forced people to vote for us. We won, and then we auctioned off the Green Egg that we won and gave the money to the Exceptional Foundation."
Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase a Big Green Egg used once during the cook-off at a discounted price.
The funds raised for the Exceptional Foundation allow them to offer affordable tuition through, basically, scholarships for program participants.
"Without this program, our tuition would not be affordable and probably a lot of the participants that come would not be able to participate because they would not be able to pay what it really costs," Bradshaw said. "Our program — we have four different groups, and they rotate around all day. They do anything from something educational, like life lessons, life skills. We do all kinds of recreation, like basketball, Skee-Ball. We go bowling every Monday. We go to the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University every Thursday and Thursday and play tennis.
"We try to offer a wide variety of activities so that everyone has something that they like. And at the end of the day, they’re all real tired, so when they get home they’ve had a full, fun day."
The event will feature live music, with program participants also performing, as well as a kids zone and a concession stand serving more kid-friendly food, like pizza and snacks. Alcoholic beverages will also be available for adults.
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Saturday at Watson Brothers, and tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. Tickets can be bought online at www.eggsontheplains.com, by contacting the Exceptional Foundation or Bradshaw at email@example.com.
"I do want to say our community has embraced us and we are so fortunate," said Bradshaw. "We have very meaningful programs, and we want to tap into these individual’s potential.
"It is super-important that we have a successful fundraiser so that we can continue to offer this program to our participants."