A multi-dimensional event bringing comradery to America’s Veterans and the Gulf CoasA multi-dimensional event bringing comradery to America’s Veterans and the Gulf Coast community through a weekend celebration and recognition of our nation’s heroes, the first ever AeroFest was a success! Co-founders Steven Barshov, Jessica Barshov, and Dave Glassman knew that pulling off a first year festival would be quite a feat, yet they proceeded with hope and full hearts dedicated to the worthy cause.
Because of the hard work and dedication from partners Lakeshore Foundation, ClearGive, DigiPro Media, Arts Alive, Mobile Airport Authority Foundation, and TitanFC, AeroFest 2015 held its obligation in honoring America’s military service members. This 2-day celebration of Live Music, an Independence Ride, 14 Titan FC MMA bouts, Hero Games, Crossfit Challenge, an Art Festival, a late night Art Party, Wheelchair Basketball games, and even more, brought people of all demographics together from all over the country.
Four sanctioned TitanFC MMA title fights on the same card were held on Friday night of the festival. The fights were nationally televised on CBS SPORTS to 93 million homes, but what went on off camera is why AeroFest is a festival for all the right reasons. Partnered with Shannon Lee, an American actress and martial artist and daughter of the world-renowned martial artist Bruce Lee, Titan FC fighters visited Mobile County schools earlier in the week in an anti-bullying campaign.
The first music festival of its kind, AeroFest 2015 delivered an array of entertainment at low-ticket prices with the mission of improving the lives of America’s injured heroes. Big and Rich, Dawes, Matisyahu, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Dumpstaphunk, and Zoogma were just a few of the artists to perform on Friday and Saturday nights. All proceeds going to Veterans’ organizations that support the physical, emotional, and adaptive needs of our injured warriors, this non-profit event rose more than monetary funding; it lifted the hearts and spirits of everyone involved.
Matisyahu invites the crowd up onto the stage during his performance Saturday night.
The stigma of disability was crushed with each dribble of the basketball in the wheelchair basketball tournament, the notion of relying on our whole bodies for independence was left in the dust of the bikers of the Independence Ride, and the misperceptions of those living with mental, emotional, and physical disabilities were mended with every smile and hug between the disabled and able-bodied attendees.
Participants of the Independence Ride share some excitement
This festival perhaps most importantly showcased that disability does not define and that every body is an able body when provided with the necessary equipment, training, will power, and support.
All photos courtesy of Michelle Stancil