The Make m’ Smile festival celebrated its 17 th year at Lake Eola on Saturday, with 40,000 people expected to attend in support of the special needs community.
For a $5 general admission, attendees enjoyed live music, character interactions, water activities, a petting zoo, and exhibits from the Orlando Magic and Orlando City SC.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer attended the “Hall of Hope Butterfly Release,” which honored special needs children who have passed away. American Idol top eight finalist and Lake Nona local Alyssa Raghu and her band, Latitude 28, performed at the event as well.
The festival was put on by Nathaniel’s Hope, a non-profit organization established by Marie and Tim Kuck in 2002. The name honors their son, Nathaniel Kuck, who passed away at just four years old due to birth anomalies. The group aims to provide practical assistance to special needs kids, VIP kids, as the group calls them, and their families.
For more information about Nathaniel’s Hope, visit: https://www.nathanielshope.org.