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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 5 years ago

Iron Horse gets behind Autism Speaks for annual family party

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The biker bar on U.S. 1 was the site of wholesome family fun last weekend, raising money to fight autism.

BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER

There were no motorcycles doing burnouts and no bar girls Saturday, at the World Famous Iron Horse Saloon, on U.S. 1. There were, however, kids jumping in a bounce house while their parents enjoyed live music and a picnic.

The Iron Horse, known for biker bashes, hosted a wholesome family cookout, with the $10 admission fee benefiting Autism Speaks, a national advocacy and research organization. Kids got in free. Food was provided by volunteers.

Organizer Kathy Davis, of Ormond Beach, said Autism Speaks has done a lot for her son, Joseph, who was diagnosed with autism three years ago, at the age of 2.

“He has had therapy so he can speak and do simple addition,” she said. “He plays and socially interacts with other children.”

Autism Speaks helped her find those therapies.

“I was told (Joseph) would never speak or show affection,” she said. “Well, with the help of organizations like Autism Speaks, I was able to get him the therapies he needs and now (he) speaks and loves his family! I have always worked with children's charities but this one is special to me.”

Davis works part time at the Iron Horse.

“I’m friends with Kathy and her husband. My grandkids are close to their kids,” Iron Horse Manager Steve Fritze said. “I wanted to do something.”

The venue and the band were provided by Iron Horse but Fritze himself donated the bounce house. He was hoping for a big turnout but said he was afraid the image of the bar might keep people from bringing children.

“I don’t think people realize this is a family event,” he said. “Maybe more will come next year.”

Davis organizes several events throughout the year in her role as resource chairperson for Autism Speaks. The main event will be the Walk Now for Autism Speaks Nov. 16, in Port Orange.

Registration for the three-mile walk is at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. Donations suggested. Call 407-478-6330, or visit walknowforautismspeaks.org/volusia.

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