Special Olympics Coming In March, East Wenatchee Makes Donation
The Washington State Special Olympics Winter Games are coming back to the Wenatchee Valley, and the city of East Wenatchee is offering financial support.
The city council this week approved a monetary donation of $10,000 to the group that stages the event.
East Wenatchee Events Director Trina Elmes says the Special Olympics are a boon for the local economy.
“They have over 2,500 people that come and attend,” said Elmes. “And they fill all of our gyms, all of our hotels. We’re booked.”
The Special Olympics Winter Games draws more than 1500 athletes along with 300 coach-chaperones and over 600 volunteers throughout the 3-day event.
Several thousand people attend the games, which provides a big boost to area hotels, restaurants and retail stores.
Some city councilors spoke out during Tuesday’s council meeting, saying the organizers deserve a bigger contribution from the city than $10,000, given the economic impact the games bring.
Elmes says the organizers will likely ask for more money in the future.
“We talked to her at our last meeting,” Elmes said. “We’ve, I think, all kind of agreed that we should be giving them more. And so next year they’re going to ask for more.”
The games take place on the first weekend in March. They're organized by the nonprofit Wenatchee Valley Sports Foundation.
The Winter Games consists of competition in cross country skiing, alpine skiing, snow shoeing, snowboarding, figure skating, speed skating and basketball for athletes with developmental disabilities.
The games are an annual event that has been in the valley for 32 years but was canceled for several years due to the pandemic.
The event returned in 2023 with much fanfare.
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Gallery Credit: Patti Banner