Nation’s largest, FREE, one-day event for people with disabilities–both seen and unseen– returns to Boca Raton on February 20 after a pandemic-related pause

November 3, 2021– The 14th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities – the nation’s largest, free, one-day event for people with disabilities, both seen and unseen – will welcome its audience back to an in-person event at Spanish River Park. Presented by the American Disabilities Foundation, the event became an inclusive Spring Break event, drawing people from across the country.

The 14th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, February 20, 2022, at Spanish River Park, 3001 North Ocean Blvd. (A1A), Boca Raton, FL 33431.

“We couldn’t be happier to have our signature event return to Spanish River Park,” said American Disabilities Foundation (ADF) Managing Director Liz Schmidt. “In 2021, we answered calls for an event with a safe ‘Beep Beep Bash,’ but we were hopeful to be able to come back to the place where the magic really happens.”

Schmidt was installed in March 2021, following the July 2020 passing of Founding Executive Director Jay Van Vechten. Dr. Christopher Noe was also named president of the Board of Directors for ADF.

Organizers are seeking sponsorships, vendors, exhibitors, entertainment and local boat captains. After a two-year pause, the organization committee is working to re-establish relationships and welcome new organizations to participate.

“This is a ‘feel-good’ event that we expect to welcome at least 2,000-3,000 back to Spanish River Park,” Schmidt said. “Although it is outdoors, we will be offering free masks at the entrances and planning for a smaller, safer footprint for 2022. Eventually, as conditions improve, we hope to greet our larger audience.”

Designed as a Spring Break vacation for all people with disabilities, their family members and supportive caregivers, the Bash has welcomed guests from as far away as California and Rome, Italy. It is the only event of its kind, offering complimentary, scheduled boat rides, special access to the beach and ocean with Mobi Mats, a Kids Fun Zone, therapy workshops led by trained specialists, wheelchair yoga, music, costumed dance parties, therapy ponies and dogs, a BBQ lunch, and more. Everything is free and geared toward the guests’ special needs.


The Bash was started in 2009 as an event hosted by the City of Boca Raton Advisory Board for People with Disabilities.  The City relinquished the Bash in 2011 to the management of the late Executive Director Jay Van Vechten and his wife, Lowell. Since then, through community support and donations, the couple and the Bash’s planning committee have pushed the event’s growth beyond wildest expectations. Welcoming more than 5,000 guests in 2018, the Bash has become the largest, free, wholly disability-friendly event in the country with a full schedule of entertainment, recreation, boat rides, beach access, vendors, exhibitions, workshops and food in the nation. It has also become a Spring Break destination event in South Florida, drawing families from as far away as California and New York. Learn more at


14th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

February 20, 2022

Spanish River Park, 3001 North Ocean Blvd. (A1A), Boca Raton, FL 33431; 561-715-2622

The 14th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, which is free, is the nation’s largest festival for people with special needs – both seen and unseen – their family members and caregivers. Festivities include boat rides, beach access, sporting events, ponies for petting, costumed action heroes, wheelchair yoga, a Kids Fun Zone, food, music and dance parties.