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Celebrate Inclusivity at Soapfest

For most locals and avid soap opera lovers, Soapfest has been a beloved island tradition for 19 years.

On Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-28, 2018, the charity event will host some of the best daytime soap actors all while raising money for autism and those living with special needs.

Three main events are planned for the fans, while the actors get a private experience with local kids and young adults with special needs.

During the downtime between events the stars have a little fun.

Saturday evening features a Night of Stars VIP event with opportunities for personal time with the actors at every dinner table along with games and a live auction. Set sail on Sunday aboard the Marco Princess for a Cruisin’ Boozin’ & Schmoozin’ afternoon cruise for one-on-one time with the celebrities and end the night at the Celebrity Karaoke Bar Bash. At each event there are one-of-a-kind auction items, original artwork by actors, studio tour prizes, ticket packages to next year’s Emmy Awards, lunch with your favorite celebrity, and many surprises.

This year’s celebrity line-up includes returning favorites and several newcomers: Melissa Archer, Kate Linder, Jeff Branson, Christian LeBlanc, Sean Carrigan, Camryn Grimes, Robert Adamson, Robert Palmer Watkins, Hayley Erin, Ryan Paevey, Josh Swickard, Brytni Sarpy, and Patrika Darbo.

Coastal Breeze News spoke with Camryn Grimes, Hayley Erin and Patrika Darbo as they prepared for the weekend festivities. Each actress was nominated for the 2018 Emmy Awards and two brought home big wins. Each said that they look forward to enjoying the beauty Marco Island, and being involved with a meaningful cause.

“My brother has high functioning autism so some of the best parts about the charity are getting to know the kids, their families, and hearing their stories,” says Grimes, an Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress. “You get firsthand experience of seeing what the charity means to them and how much of an impact the support has been for them and the community,” she adds.

Most soap stars are used to attending numerous events throughout the year, but none are quite like Soapfest. For her first year attending, Darbo is ready for a weekend packed with acceptance and love.

“Suddenly we have the spectrum, which I like to look at as a rainbow of different colors,” says Darbo, two-time Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Guest Performer. “We have bright colors and right ways to look at things, now encouraging us to come out of the dark into the beautiful light of autism and the spectrum and realizing that everything is not always the same. It changes constantly, and we should change with it, be aware of it, be open to it, and help as much as we can.”

Erin, an Emmy Award nominee, wants to encourage everybody in the community to attend an event. She says, “It’s about the bonds we create. It’s about getting the community together. I encourage you to buy a ticket. Come on down, spend time with the actors and it’s for such a good cause. I can’t wait to see everyone together in Marco Island!”

Lodging and transportation services can be arranged for visiting tourists. This year’s event will benefit local children’s charities, such as Camp Able (Providing education and outreach services for children with special needs), along with Island Theater Company’s summer kids’ programs.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit www.theateronmarco.com/soapfest.