ELIZABETHTOWN — As many as 125 athletes will converge on the football field and track area at Elizabethtown Middle School on Friday for the annual Spring Games by Bladen County Special Olympics.
The event will be opened at 10 a.m., as it always is, with a torch run by members of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies.
Once the torch is lit, then the 2014 Spring Games will begin.
Gwen Thompson, a volunteer member of the Bladen County Special Olympics Committee, said the athletes range in age from 8 to 70 years old and come from the various county schools and group homes.
“And all of the athletes really look forward to these Spring Games each year,” Thompson said. “And until you actually come out and see the competition, you just can’t imagine the excitement and energy that is out there.”
The Spring Games will include six events for competitors — including a softball throw, long jump, bocce and others. In addition, an activity area is set up around the softball field for athletes to stay busy with a soccer kick, hula-hoops, tee-ball and more.
Thompson said numerous volunteers from East Bladen and West Bladen high schools — known as the Dream Team and includes coaches and athletes — helps run the individual competitions.
“We’ve been so thankful for all the volunteers and donations from so many local businesses, churches and individuals,” she said. “It costs close to $5,000 to put these Spring Games on.”
Thompson added that, with any luck, the committee is hoping to mo0ve toward holding a Fall Games in the near future.
In the event of inclement weather, a rain date has been set for Friday, March 28.