Ghosts and Princesses and Ninjas, Oh My!


CULLMAN – The families of the therapeutic recreation program were all dressed up this Halloween and having a great time at Stone Bridge Farms. Special needs individuals and their families brought the house down Friday night in a beautiful venue with lots of goodies for all.

The Cullman City Parks & Recreation’s therapeutic program has been offering all types of wonderful activities for the special needs community in Cullman. From swimming to bowling, our city has really taken an interest in offering quality programs for a community that can be overlooked in other areas of the state.

“The therapeutic recreation program has been around for about three years now,” said Waid Harbison, marketing director for CP&R. “This is one of the bigger events we have done for it. We actually started it on Valentine’s Day back in 2012 and had about 250 come out to that event. So we’ve always had good participation.”

Harbison said that aim and goal was a simple, but important one.

“We just really wanted to give all of these people of any age a place to come together and have fun,” he said. “We offer a lot of different programs through the week that a lot of these guys do, like the miracle league baseball and softball, swimming, bowling and things like that where they can socialize with one another.”

The festivities for the Halloween bash took place at the beautiful and luxurious Stone Bridge Farms in the Brown Stone Centre. Beautiful decorations and delicious hotdogs, chips and, of course, candy were served to all the guests. Harbison said that the entire CP&R staff was very excited to offer this event and all of the activities with it.

“We are just glad that we can offer a big party for everyone to have fun,” Harbison said. “We are having hay rides, pumpkin carving, games and all of the things you would expect at a great Halloween party. It’s a great atmosphere. We have some great costumes as well, these guys know how to dress up and have a great time.”

Harbison wanted to make sure to mention a couple of names that really made this event the success that it was.

“Holly Gutierrez is our therapeutic recreation coordinator,” said Harbison. “She has a full time job, she’s pregnant, and has a kid, but still makes time to help with all of this so we are really appreciative of her. All of the kids and adults love her and know her well. Also want to thank Stone Bridge for allowing us to use their facilities for free. Ron Foust has been one of our biggest supporters from the beginning.”

The music was bumping, and a lot of participants got on the dance floor to shake their groove things. As one mom watched her daughter smile and laugh, she talked a little about how her appreciation for everyone putting this program together and accurately sums up the feeling for the entire event.

“It’s just amazing,” said Dawn Williams. “My kid loves this, and it’s just amazing, I can’t say enough about it. Four or five years ago, there was nothing really for our kids to do. Now they have so much with sports and parties, it’s just beyond words. Proud isn’t a word that does it justice.”

For more information on the therapeutic recreation program, please contact Cullman City Parks & Recreation at 256-734-9157.