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Special Olympics Family Festival going virtual in 2020 | Local

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MATTOON — Consolidated Communications, Special Olympics Illinois and Lake Land College have announced that the 2020 Special Olympics Family Festival will be a virtual event this September due to COVID-19 pandemic safety concerns.

Created in 1984 by Consolidated and hosted on Lake Land’s campus, the festival is an event that traditionally brings together more than 600 Special Olympics athletes and 1,200 volunteers for a day of games and activities. Consolidated reported in a press release that this year’s festival, set for Sept. 19, will not be held in person to ensure the health and safety of athletes and volunteers, but activities will occur virtually to celebrate area athletes.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of those who attend SOFF and, at this time, we do not feel it is responsible to bring 1,800 people together during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Consolidated President and CEO Bob Udell. “We simply cannot put the health of the athletes and volunteers at risk. SOFF is a highly-anticipated event in the lives of our athletes, volunteers and our employees, and we are committed to continuing the festival when it is safe to do so.”

The festival committee, comprised of Consolidated employees, along with representatives from Special Olympics, Lake Land, First Mid Bank & Trust and Sarah Bush Lincoln, is planning a virtual event that will include many of the same features as the typical festival, delivered in an online format.

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