The seventh annual F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Buddy Walk will have character meet and greets, music and games.

Join F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Down Syndrome West Florida at the Al Lopez Park to unite for a common cause at the seventh annual F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Buddy Walk on Saturday, October 21.

The Buddy Walk event will begin at 10 a.m. with meet and greets, music and more. The advocacy walk will begin at 1 p.m., with team pictures to follow.

Individuals with Down syndrome must register as a walker but are free to participate and will receive a Buddy Walk wristband, T-shirt, medal and cowbell or noisemaker. Until Sunday, October 1, registration is $20 for participants ages 13 and up and includes a Buddy Walk T-shirt, a wristband, free team photos and event admission. After October 1, the price will increase to $25. Children ages 12 and under are free and must register to receive their free Buddy Walk T-shirt and wristband.

Starting at 10 a.m., participants are welcome to enjoy the festivities, including music from DJ Mark Girdwood and the MC Mark Oliver as well as bounce houses, a playground and face painting.

A complimentary lunch, prepared by Craig Wangberg and Paul Foyt, will be served starting at 11 a.m., and you’ll be able to get a picture taken with your favorite Star Wars and Ghostbusters characters. Guests are welcome to bring their own 10 ft. by 10 ft. tents, chairs and food.

Ninety-seven percent of the money raised during the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Buddy Walk goes back into F.R.I.E.N.D.S. programs and activities. The other 3 percent of the donations raised go to the National Down Syndrome Society to support its significant national advocacy, education and inclusion efforts.

“It is vital for families to meet other families, to share information and to gain that vital support,” said Ann Foyt, president of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. “Our kids also need to meet each other to make friends, and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. gives our community these opportunities.”

In September, teams who register for the Buddy Walk and raise $500 by October 1 will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card. In October, teams who raise $1,000 will be entered to win Apple earbuds; if they raise $2,500, the teams could win a $250 Amazon gift card; and if they raise $5,000, the teams could win a $500 gift card. Teams will be issued a raffle ticket for each $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000 they raise. The deadline for these incentives is Friday, October 20.

Come out to join the 2,000 participants for a day of fun and support millions of families and individuals impacted by Down syndrome at the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Buddy Walk.

For more information, to participate, volunteer or donate, please visit

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