“We provide a developmentally appropriate education for children with special needs,” said Mary Ulich, director of operations at the school. “There’s a job training program at Lionheart called Lionheart for Life, so [students] will be practicing their job skills [at the fundraiser] by interacting with the public and by selling sodas and waters on site.”
The event includes a grilling competition, beer tasting, music from the University of Georgia alumni band, spirit face painting, inflatables for children and a screening of the UGA vs. South Carolina game. Students from The Lionheart School will also be selling their own crafted art work.
“Everybody loves a tailgate,” Ulich said. “Our students really connect with different college teams, either because their teachers or their parents are alumni or they like the mascot.”
Restaurants, businesses and community groups participating in the grilling competition include Alpharetta Presbyterian Church, Alpharetta United Methodist Church, the Alpharetta Rotary Club, Alpharetta Young Professionals, the Hampton Hall Monday Night Football Guys, Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails, Hop Alley Brew Pub, Choate Construction, Smokejack BBQ, Seven Seas Mediterranean Café and Harry’s Farmers Market.
Harry’s Farmers Market is the event’s presenting sponsor and will man two grill stations, Ulich added.
Attendees can purchase a tasting bracelet for $15 to sample all the food from the grill. A $25 bracelet includes tasting beer samples from Blind Murphy Craft Beer Market. There will be craft beer brewed from Georgia and South Carolina.
When the football game reaches halftime, awards will be given out for best in show, best beef, best chicken, best tailgate and best of the rest.
“Best of the rest is really a community award and we’re hoping that our students will select this,” Ulich said. “It could be the funniest chef. They could decide to give it to the UGA band for the best entertainment. That’s just really going to be driven by what the event looks like.”
She said the school hopes to raise $10,000 from the inaugural event and plans to continue the fundraiser annually. Those who cannot attend the tailgate party but want to make donations to the nonprofit school can do so via www.thelionheartschool.com.
If you go
What: Grilling and Gridiron Tailgate Party
Where: Old Roswell Street, downtown Alpharetta
When: Sept. 7; grilling begins at 2 p.m., tasting begins at 3 p.m. and game starts at 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 for grilling tasting; $25 for grilling and beer tasting; $250 for reserved table near the TV screen and 8 grilling and beer tasting passes