May 17 horse show/fair to benefit Special Strides

MONROE — Members of the public are invited to enjoy music, food, games and activities during the first Special Strides Country Fair and Horse Show.

The event will be held at Congress Hill Farm, Federal Road, Monroe Township, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17.

The farm is in Monroe Township, just over the Manalapan border.

The event will benefit the Steven Werthan Memorial Fund, which focuses on providing financial assistance to families whose children would not otherwise be able to receive therapy at Special Strides.

“The horse show is our first ever and we are so excited,” said Laurie Landy, director and occupational therapist at Special Strides.

Landy said the day has been set aside for children in the therapeutic riding program to shine in front of their family and friends.

All of the children participating are considered winners, she said, and recognition ribbons will be displayed in the winners’ circle around the venue. The ribbons, written greetings from friends and family members, cost $20 each and support the program.

The event will take place rain or shine and is open to the public. Entry is free, but food and games will require a ticket purchase.

The day will be divided into classes including Walk, Walk on a Lead, Walk/Trot with Lead, Costume Class and others. All participants will be judged and will receive ribbons donated by Perry’s Trophy Co., Long Branch, and stuffed horses by Kids Preferred LLC, East Windsor.

Music will include performances by members of Jet Weston and His Atomic Ranch Hands.

Sponsors include Rob Kash, owner of the Metropolitan Café, Freehold, and Nonna’s, Marlboro; Utz; Coca-Cola; Applebee’s; Wegmans of Manalapan; the South Old Bridge Fire Department; Marlboro Township Police Explorers Post 105; and Zipp & Tannenbaum LLC, Jamesburg.

The show is in honor of Fire Department of New York Capt. Joseph Farrelly, who lost his life in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Farrelly was a native of Old Bridge.

Last year, Farrelly’s wife, Stacey, of Staten Island, N.Y., donated a therapeutic cart for driving and the seed money to begin Special Strides’ therapeutic driving program.

Special Strides is a nonprofit organization that provides riding and nature therapy for special needs children from ages 2-16. The program’s $450,000 budget comes from grants, donations, sponsorships, fundraising events and tuition.

Laurie Landy and Susie Rehr operate the program as directors and therapists. Seventy-two children from Monmouth and Middlesex counties are enrolled at Special Strides.

For more information about the program our to make a donation, call Karen Goldberg or Laurie Landy at 732-446-0945 or send an email to Kgoldberg@specialstrides. com.