Special event permit for festival granted at Gonzales Council meeting

Darian Graivshark

Flashing lights, loud sounds and tempting smells attract carnival lovers all around.

What about children, or adults, with autism? Generally, low sensory events help people with autism enjoy their time more.

Kelvin Kinchen has a grandson that was diagnosed as autistic and explained how difficult it was to find help within the parish.

"My daughter had to take her son, my grandson, out of Ascension to get diagnosed," Kinchen said. "I feel as that there is not enough awareness here, and I'd like to do something about that."

From March 8-10, 2019, Kinchen is putting together a Music and Seafood Festival at the Gonzales Civic Center, but it will be focusing on those diagnosed with autism and towards benefiting them.

"We want to show Ascension we can have a fun time without having to leave the community if someone has autism," Kinchen said. "Many people who are already involved support us in bringing more awareness to autism in Ascension. The Pelicans and Saints have even donated items that we will be auctioning."

The event will get started with a parade the first day by those who are diagnosed with autism, so the community will focus on the main purpose of the event. Followed by the parade, guests can enjoy carnival rides, live music, food, and cooking competitions. The live music won't contain any vulgarity and will be family friendly as a whole.

"It touches you when there's someone with autism in the family," Mayor Barney Arceneaux said. "So, I believe this will be a great event for the community."

Kinchen presented the festival to the council to request a Special Event Permit, which was motioned for approval by Councilman Neal Bourque with no opposition.

Also requesting a permit was St. Theresa Catholic Church for their Centennial Celebration on October 14, 2018. This will be their 100th year since the church was built in 1918. The celebration will offer a Spanish mass that will be translated into English. Their request was also approved.

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