The Lee County Courthouse Square will be buzzing with people this Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. for the 12th annual Going Blue for Autism event.
Twelve years ago, Luanne Helms and her family and friends colored the Lee County Courthouse fountain blue, the universally recognized color representing autism, after her 23-year-old son was diagnosed with the disorder in 2002.
Last year, the event hosted over 350 attendees, but Helms expects it to grow and bring in 500 patrons this Saturday.
Guests can visit food trucks, dance with the DJ, pet some animals, meet with first responders and get a picture with Aubie.
“It’s become a passion. My family is the key to these events, my biggest supporters,” said Helms.
According to Helms, individuals with autism are seven times more likely to come in contact with first responders than their peers, so she has geared this event toward safety.
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“We will be offering Safety ID kits with CDs available on site for any individuals who might need one, safety resources and other community resources,” said Helms.
The city of Opelika will also be presenting a proclamation for Autism Awareness Month.
Going Blue for Autism is meant to celebrate those living with autism in the local community and state, as one in 36 people are diagnosed with autism, according to a March 2023 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
“If the event helps one family to feel seen and accepted, then the mission is complete. I want the community to come out, enjoy the music, eat, shop and play,” said Helms.