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Annual Surf, Song Festival to benefit autism program at hospital

March 18, 2012
Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Surf and Song Foundation will host its annual Surf and Song Festival on March 30-31 at Centennial Park and in the River District in downtown Fort Myers, featuring more than 100 musicians, arts and crafts, a Kids Zone and great food and drinks.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the new "Navigating Autism" program at The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.

"We hope the community will come out and be a part of the largest all-charity music festival in Florida," said Fritz Caraher, Surf and Song Foundation president and festival chairman.

"We have gathered some great national music acts and local arts and crafts vendors to help shed light on an important issue affecting a growing number of local families," he said. "We hope everyone will join us for a weekend of great entertainment benefiting local children with autism."

The Surf and Song Festival will feature 15 music stages throughout a six-block area of downtown Fort Myers.

Thousands of fans are expected to cheer on multiple national headline acts, including Cracker, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, John Waite, Matthew Ryan and Johnny Rzeznik, lead guitarist, singer and songwriter for the Goo Goo Dolls. More than 90 local and regional bands are performing.

For the full concert line-up, visit:

The event kicks-off March 30 in Centennial Park. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the music starts at 5 p.m.

On March 31 gates will reopen at 11 a.m., with performances beginning at noon.

Advanced tickets are $25 and are available at:

Tickets are $30 at the gate.

"Our singular focus is to support The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida and help meet the challenges presented to children in our community who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)," said Mike VonPlinsky, the executive director and festival vice-chairman.

"We are delighted to be an integral part of the creation and maintenance of the hospital's 'Navigating Autism' program through the funds raised at our annual festival and all pre-festival events," he said.

According to Dr. Guillermo Philipps, a pediatric neurology specialist at The Children's Hospital, autism now impacts 1 in 110 children. The diagnosis of autism can be devastating to a family, and the choices for treatment can be overwhelming.

The Children's Hospital's "Navigating Autism" program is designed to ensure all families receive the best possible services and care. The "Navigator" provides support and connections to medical and community resources.

With the help of a medical Navigator, families are able to receive the support they need to ensure the best outcomes for their children.

The Surf and Song Foundation is a charitable, nonprofit organization supported by musicians, artists, businesses and the public to raise awareness and funds for local charities in the community.

For more information, visit:



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