2018 Sunshine Saturday 6 tw.jpg

A scene from the ARC of North Talladega County's Sunshine Saturday 2018. The 2019 event is set for this Saturday, April 20, at the Talladega Community Life Center on Battle Street. 

TALLADEGA COUNTY -- The ARC of North Talladega County’s annual “Go Casual Friday” and “Sunshine Saturday” fundraisers are set for April 19-20.

The fundraisers benefit local children and adults with special needs.

“The Arc of North Talladega County is a nonprofit-based organization whose role is to advocate for the rights and protection of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, so that they may live happy, productive and successful lives,” ARC Director Janie Gable Curtis said.

For Go Casual Friday, area employers are asked to allow their employees to purchase a “Go Casual” T-shirt and wear it to workFriday, April 19 -- leading up to the festivities on Sunshine Saturday.

Orders are are still being taken, and each shirt is$12. The back of the shirts will be adorned with the area sponsors who help make Sunshine Saturday possible. Shirts will also be for sale at Sunshine Saturday, Curtis noted.  

“Last year, we sold over 1,100 shirts,” Curtis said. “This year’s shirts were made by the Alabama Industries for the Blind. We want to thank them for the beautiful shirts. They are what our mission is all about.”

The 43rd annual Sunshine Saturday will be Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Talladega Community Life Center on Battle Street, across from Piggly Wiggly.

“The event will go on rain or shine, but the weather is supposed to perfect on Saturday,” Curtis said. “We have our fingers crossed for a good turnout.”

Curtis has described the event as “a wholesome, family fun day with something for everyone. We rely on area volunteers and are so thankful for their continued support.”

Throughout the day, there will be games, rides, an entertainment stage and food, Curtis noted.

“We are glad to have the Fairytale Project participating again this year,” Curtis said. “We are hoping to have some superheroes make an appearance as well. There will also be a rock climbing wall, bounce houses, carnival-style rides and games. It’s something the whole family can come out and enjoy.”

Curtis added this year will be the first time the event will feature an Easter Egg Hunt.

“The hunt starts at 10:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public,” Curtis said. “We just ask that participants bring their own Easter baskets.”

Raffle prizes are also set to be awarded following the egg hunt.

“The Easter Bunny will also be there to visit and take pictures with the children,” Curtis said. “We are excited that Sunshine Saturday landed the day before Easter this time. We always have it the third Saturday in April. It just worked out this year.”

Funds raised from Sunshine Saturday and Go Casual Friday benefit several ARC projects, including providing school supplies to area schools and sponsoring an annual summer camp for children with special needs. Proceeds also help support the Burton Development Center, and much more.

“Last year, we were able to provide over $11,400 in grants for area special education teachers,” Curtis said. “It’s so rewarding to be able to give back. The summer camp is also something we are very thankful for. There aren’t any summer camps close by for children with special needs. It’s something the students and parents both benefit from.”

The Burton Development Center in Talladega provides services for adults with intellectual and developmental issues to help them become more independent in society.

We are still in need of volunteers to help run our carnival-type booths for Sunshine Saturday,” Curtis said. “This is a wonderful way to give back to the community and this also qualifies as community service hours for students needing them for college scholarships.”

This year’s volunteers are set to include Talladega College, Winterboro High School, Munford Middle School, Zora Ellis Junior High, First Baptist Church of Talladega, Southside Baptist Church, Talladega Chamber of Commerce ambassadors, Alabama Eye Clinic, the Lions Club, the Junior Welfare League and more.

Curtis added the Calvary and Whosoever Sunday school classes will be cooking hamburgers and barbecue for hungry participants. “Representatives from Blue Bell are also coming with ice cream,” she said. “We will also have a sweet shop set up filled with treats prepared by retired educations from the area.

“All of this takes so much hard work, but it is definitely worth it in the end. We are so thankful for the continued support.”

2019 Sunshine Saturday local sponsors includeFirst Bank of Alabama, Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative, Stampede Steakhouse, dentist Zack Dollar, CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, Alfa Insurance, Therapy South, Miller’s BBQ, Griffins Jewelers, Ace Hardware, Alabama Eye Clinic, AltaPointe Health Systems, Custom Pizza, Legacy Roof Contractors, MainStreet Family Urgent Care and Honda Manufacturing of Alabama.

“Dr. Dollar and Legacy are our two new sponsors this year,” Curtis said. “We want to thank them for getting on board to support us. Sunshine Saturday is the longest running event in Talladega. This is our 43rd year, and it spans generations. The kids really love it, and adults who went years ago now want to take their kids. It’s important that we continue it for the community.”

To order a Go Casual shirt or to find out more about volunteering for Sunshine Saturday, call Curtis at 256-589-6784.