SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The Champion Autism Network has partnered up with the Surfside Beach Fire Department to hold an annual event for kids.

Becky Large with Champion Autism Network says the event was canceled last year because of COVID and says the group is happy to be back this year.

“To be with our families, it’s been a long year so happy to be here,” Large said.

Large says families from all over South Carolina, even out of state come out to participate. Laura West and her three-year-old son, Elliot says they are visiting from Charlotte, North Carolina, and says it’s their first time attending.

“It’s wonderful to be somewhere inclusive and I don’t have to worry about being judged especially with everything going on we can’t get out much,” West said.

West says her son is in the autism spectrum.

“It’s hard when you have a child who doesn’t understand what is happening with the pandemic and everything so this has been so wonderful for us,” West said.

“Just helps families who have kids on the spectrum feel a little more normal,” Nick Destefano, a parent, said.

Kids enjoyed activities like Easter egg and cookie decorating, and checking out the fire trucks.

“There is a squirt down fire. They probably love that the most,” Destefano said.

“My son has loved the fire hose and putting the fire out. I think he’s done it about ten times already but it’s just great to see him happy and out and having fun,” West said.

“It’s just a huge community event and we would not be here without those who support us,” Large said.