Inland Regional Center celebrates Disability Awareness at the Annual IRC Fall Festival

IECN photo courtesy Amelia Maldonado: IRC Senior Training Specialist Jonathan Eckrich (back row), wife Jennifer, and their children welcome Fall Festival attendees.
IECN photo courtesy Justine Bustos:
Balloon artist Bubbles, of the Compassionate Clown Company, creates balloon sculptures for IRC Fall Festival guests.

On November 4th Inland Regional Center (IRC) Consumers, families, staff, and vendors spent a warm autumn afternoon at the 2017 IRC Fall Festival. This event connects Inland Empire families with services available to people with developmental disabilities while celebrating the disability community in a fun carnival atmosphere.

“The IRC Fall Festival is an event our Consumers and families look forward to year after year,” said IRC Community Relations Specialist Amelia Maldonado. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to learn about services and resources. But equally as important it gives the IRC community a chance to laugh, smile, dance and be silly together. We see it as a celebration of disability, inclusion, and community.”

IECN photo courtesy Amelia Maldonado:
Back row from left: Senator Mike Morrell, Frank Reyes, Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, and Congressman Pete Aguilar pose with ballet folklorico dancers from Saint John’s Angels at IRC Fall Festival.

More than 75 community agencies hosted exhibitor booths to provide information about their services to festival attendees. In keeping with the carnival-theme, exhibitors provided games, activities, raffles, and giveaways at their booths. Entertainment could also be found around every turn.

The Great American Y Circus performed acrobatic and aerial routines on the main stage. Saint John’s Angel’s showcased youth dancers in their ballet folklorico performances. Alejandro Pelayo, who goes by the stage name Alexo Presto, performed magic tricks for the crowds. Pelayo is also a client of Inland Regional Center.

IECN photo Ricardo Tomboc: Amy Alvina McClain Lee is in the Mario the Monkey costume from Premier Healthcare and accompanied by her husband, Philip Lee.

Jugglers, face painters, and balloon twisters rounded out the afternoon’s entertainment. IRC Event Developer Daisy Felix worked with community partners to ensure that this event was provided to the community free of charge.

This year’s festival was presented by Pathway, Inc. and sponsored by People’s Care, In-Roads Creative Programs, Inland Respite, California Mentor, IEHP, and Premier Healthcare.

The festival was also attended by several community leaders and legislators including Congressman Pete Aguilar, Senator Mike Morrell, and Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, among others. These legislators toured the event and met with Inland Regional Center staff to discuss the services provided by the regional center as well as challenges faced in providing services to diverse communities.