Rancho hospital will hold first-ever Summer Festival on July 20

DOWNEY - Combining its hugely popular Performing Arts of Rancho and Arts and Crafts of Rancho events into a single celebration, world-renowned Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center will hold its inaugural Summer Festival on Friday, July 20 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the hospital's Jacquelin Perry Institute back lot. The festival, entitled "Believe!", is sponsored by the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation. It will feature the talents of more than 30 Rancho patients who have overcome their disabling illnesses and injuries to create beautiful arts and crafts and inspiring live performances. Dinner will also be served for Rancho patients, families and staff and members of the community.

Admission, including dinner, will be provided free of charge.

The event will also include a booth from Rancho's Restorative Garden where potted plants and other beautiful items created by Rancho patients will be available for purchase. In addition, a Rancho dance group which blends individuals who dance in their wheelchairs with able-bodied dancers, will also perform.

"We wanted to make this show our biggest and best ever," said Performing Arts of Rancho Director Jay Cramer. "We are very excited to combine so many elements of Rancho together for the first time into what is sure to be a very happy and healthy day for the Rancho family and the community to enjoy."

The event begins with the Arts and Crafts of Rancho, which will be on display from 2 p.m. throughout the afternoon and evening.

"The breadth of what our crafters have created for this show is simply amazing," said Rancho Director of Volunteer Services and Art of Rancho coordinator Debbie Tomlinson. "We will have exquisite jewelry, scarves, purses, pins and hats as well as items ranging from T-shirts with patient artworks to greeting cards."

Debbie said that other fun items in the craft fair portion of the festival will range from delicious hand-dipped chocolate strawberries and other treats to colorful balloon and flower arrangements to specially designed caps. "Our patients have been working hard to create their precious items, and our friends in the community are always amazed at what they see from our talented and highly creative group of artists," she said.

Rancho artist Magdalia Ortiz, who recently had one of her magnificent artworks auctioned off in Paris, has created a spectacular new painting that is being turned into a ceramic wall which will be on permanent display at the hospital. Festival attendees will be able to purchase tiles, T-shirts, mouse pads and even a tote that feature this beautiful new painting by Magdalia.

Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. and the Performing Arts of Rancho show begins at 6 p.m. "This show is going to be our best ever," Jay said. He will join Tom Ayers, Hector "Juice" Duron and Terrie Perker as hosts of the Performing Arts portion of the festival.

A major highlight will be performances by Jay's wife Katy Sullivan, a noted actress and singer who will be representing our country at the upcoming Paralympic Games in London as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field team. She and Hector "Juice" Duron will kick off the Summer Festival show with a duet of "Summer Breeze" from "Grease". Katy, whose singing earned a standing ovation at Rancho's recent Amistad Gala, will also sing "My Boyfriend's Back" later in the show.

"Our show will feature a very talented blind trio known as "Out of Sight", who will be singing "In the Still of the Night," Jay said. "And of course, many of our fan favorites from previous Performing Arts of Rancho show will be performing the the Summer Festival," he added.

Some of those performers will include Clara Gayle Denson singing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and Elisa Vasquez singing and dancing "Cancion Mexicana". Annette Revilla will sing "Reflections" and Omoze Osagede will sing "I'm Every Woman" as part of a tribute to "American Bandstand."

"We'll also have Charles Whitehead singing his own composition "The Story Goes On;" Jerry Cavazos playing his saxophone, Francisco Jimenez dancing and many other rousing performances," Jay said. The show finale will be a rousing rendition of "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Don't Stop Believing" by "Juice" and the Company.

"The Rancho family is thrilled that our first Summer Festival is almost here," said Rancho CEO Jorge Orozco. "We are very pleased that our friends in the community will be joining as we celebrate the unlimited courage, dedication and creativity of our patients at this landmark event!"

********** Published: July 12, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 13