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Rain doesnt dampen spirits at Special Olympics State Games
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Volunteer Kaytlyn Williams helps Hunter Tice make a Christmas ornament during the State Fall Games for Special Olympics Georgia at North Hall Park Community Center on Saturday. Olympic Town was available for athletes to enjoy games, crafts, snacks and more. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Special Olympics Georgia State Fall Games and State Horse Show

When: Sunday

Where: Softball, North Hall Park and Laurel Park; bocce, North Hall Park; golf skills, Chicopee Woods Golf Course; cycling, Laurel Park; fun fitness, souvenir sales, North Hall Park; horse show, Chicopee Woods Agriculture Center.

Admission: Free

More information: www.specialolympicsga.org

Cassius Walton couldn’t be happier.

The athlete with special needs practically skipped Saturday as he made his way through a series of health examinations aimed at improving on his already formidable abilities.

“I love Special Olympics,” Walton said. “I like playing catcher on the softball team.”

The Macon resident was one of thousands who came out for Special Olympics Georgia’s State Fall Games. Held for the second straight year in Hall County, organizers said it was one of the biggest events to date.

It was rainy but not a total washout, as athletes played games and participated in a wide variety of activities inside the community center at North Hall Park.

More than 1,500 athletes traveled to Hall County for the State Fall Games to compete in bocce, cycling, golf and softball. Venues for the games were North Hall Park, Laurel Park and Chicopee Woods Golf Course.

Some of the games were canceled due to rainy weather, so athletes enjoyed a little extra time indoors at Olympic Town. More events are set for today.

“Olympic Town is a lot of crafts and activities for athletes during their down time, when not competing,” said Thomas Ritch, director of corporate relations and events for Special Olympics Georgia.

Lee Wright, communications and marketing manager, agreed.

“On a day like this when you got a lot of rain, this is a good thing for the athletes to have,” Wright said.

Paige Ontiveros watched as son, Andrew, 12, colored a paper mask with a marker at the community center.

Andrew participated in the softball skills competition — one of the events not canceled Saturday — and won a gold medal.

“We love Special Olympics,” Paige said. “The people here are very friendly, and we have had a great time today.”

Wright said “that’s what it’s all about.”

“I love getting to see them, getting to interact with them,” Wright said. “That’s what makes this worthwhile.”

According to its website, Special Olympics Georgia provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for 26,702 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, “giving them continuous opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”

Special Olympics Georgia State Fall Games and State Horse Show

When: Sunday

Where: Softball, North Hall Park and Laurel Park; bocce, North Hall Park; golf skills, Chicopee Woods Golf Course; cycling, Laurel Park; fun fitness, souvenir sales, North Hall Park; horse show, Chicopee Woods Agriculture Center.

Admission: Free

More informationwww.specialolympicsga.org

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