Community Life

Scenes from Rockin' for Autism at Fanwood's LaGrande Park

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Patrick Bamburak plays at 2018 Rockin' for Autism event in Fanwood. Credits: John Mooney
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Child's Play Challenge Course
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Jeff and Gina Banks Credits: John Mooney
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The Caped Crusader high-fives a Wolverine. Credits: John Mooney
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Somerset Patriots mascot Sparkee with Ethan Banks at Rockin' for Autism Credits: John Mooney
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Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS baseball players volunteered to help set up the Rockin' for Autism event. Credits: John Mooney
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Child's Play Challenge Courses Credits: John Mooney
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Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS baseball players volunteered to help set up the Rockin' for Autism event. Organizer Mallory Banks is in the middle. Credits: John Mooney
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SPFBL Opening Day ceremony Credits: John Mooney
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FANWOOD, NJ -- The third annual Rockin' for Autism fundraiser at Fanwood's LaGrande Park drew large crowds of attendees, volunteers, elected officials, foodies and super heroes. The event, which also doubles as Opening Day for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Baseball League (SPFBL), featured music, games, raffles and vendors. 

Rockin' for Autism is the brainchild of high school student Mallory Banks, who along with her parents, Jeff and Gina, has raised more than $35,000 for Autism NJ in honor of her brother, Ethan. Mallory is an official Autism NJ Ambassador and one of the top fundraisers in the state.

"An incredible day at Rockin' For Autism yesterday! Child's Play Challenge Courses is proud and honored to once again contribute to this great event," Lauren Vivenzio-Borawski wrote in a Facebook post. "When an entire community comes together you are reminded that in union there is strength!"

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Congratulations to Gina, Jeff, Mallory, and Ethan Banks and the entire committee for a successful and memorable day!l

It started with a bake sale in 2011. Four years later, Mallory pitched her idea of holding a music festival in LaGrande Park to Mayor Colleen Mahr. The event grew bigger as it combined with SPFBL's Opening Day in 2016.

The all-day festival included music acts, food trucks, vendors, workshops on autism, an obstacle course and visits by the Caped Crusader and Somerset Patriots mascot Sparkee.

April is National Autism Awareness Month.

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