Warm Weather Brings Out The Crowds For Acoustics For Autism

For the first time, Conant Street was completely closed down between Broadway and John streets for Acoustics for Autism so the public could enjoy the event with more space outdoors. On the street were several food trucks and a stage. MIRROR PHOTO BY DENNY McCARTHY

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Thousands were able to enjoy the warm weather while supporting the 15th annual Acoustics for Autism on Sunday in uptown Maumee.

More than 80 bands took to eight uptown stages for performances, some of which were livestreamed. For the first time, Conant Street was closed between John and Broadway streets for the day to make room for the crowds outdoors to enjoy the Conant Street stage.

“We couldn’t be more happy with the way things went,” said Acoustics for Autism founder Nicole Khoury. “We thought the crowd was wonderful and everybody really enjoyed the addition of Conant Street.”

Also located on Conant Street were representatives from BeInstrumental. The organization, which helps eliminate obstacles that stand in the way of children accessing music, provided a drum circle and held demonstrations for the crowd and participants.

“We’ve helped previously as volunteers, and Nicole invited us this year to bring our instruments,” executive director Douglas Logston said. “It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for several years, and this was finally the year.”

The Conant Street stage was closed in the late evening, and as the street prepared to open back up, eventgoers moved to watch the last of the performances at The Village Idiot and Buster Brown’s.

Stages were set up in local bars, parking areas and the Maumee Elks. Upstairs at the Elks, a kids’ area offered live music, face painting, balloons, crafts, games and more, all provided by volunteers.

Maddie Steinbock volunteered with several of her Chi Omega women’s fraternity sisters from Bowling Green State University, helping to run the kids’ area in order to support the charity.

“I’ve been doing this for years and just giving back and seeing the smile on the kids’ faces makes it so worth it,” Steinbock said.

Volunteers helped run every aspect of the event, from the stages to the raffles to the silent auction.

At the silent auction, bikes, gift certificates, ice chests, snowboards and more were offered. Volunteers, like Danielle Dumas, assisted in the silent auction tent. Dumas first started volunteering 10 years ago after her family originally got involved in the event because of her daughter.

“My daughter has autism and she’s 19 years old. We’ve been coming since she was 4,” Dumas said. “We’ve gotten two scholarships from Project iAm. It’s such a good event.”

Project iAm is the nonprofit organization for which Acoustics for Autism raises funds. The organization distributes that money in the form of scholarships.

The scholarships are provided to bridge the gap between what insurance covers and whatever else a person with an autism spectrum disorder might need.

“This is a 100-percent volunteer-based charity. Every dollar raised goes to support people on the spectrum, and that is one of the many reasons why I support this organization and this great event,” said Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Eric Marks, who was volunteering at the event.

Volunteers helped the event run smoothly from setup to teardown, which happened Sunday night and into Monday.

According to Khoury, while organizers await the total amount of money raised and finish the cleanup, they have already begun preparations for next year’s 16th annual Acoustics for Autism.

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