Before the Special Olympics World Games begin on July 25, 2015, more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to Southern California through the “Host Town” program. One hundred communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego will have the honor of being selected as an official Host Town.
“The Host Town program is an exciting way for Southern California locals to open our doors and show the athletes and coaches from around the world our hospitality and our culture,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee. “This is an important part of the World Games experience and a truly meaningful way for different communities to be part of the Games and create lasting memories for our visiting athletes.”
As a Host Town, the City of Santa Maria will roll out the red carpet for the international Special Olympics athletes visiting. The athletes will be treated to a true Santa Maria style experience of fun and excitement that will be truly memorable.
“We have a long and proud tradition of supporting and operating the local and regional games for Special Olympics, and so we are thrilled about this wonderful opportunity to see first‐hand the ability of Special Olympics athletes from around the world,” Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino said.
The Host Town program has been an important element of Special Olympics World Games since 1995, and the experience has left a lasting impression on the local communities in Ireland, Japan, China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have previously organized Host Town programs as part of the Special Olympics World Games.
LA2015 is actively identifying potential Host Town candidates to be considered for the program. Communities are evaluated on the availability of lodging accommodations, sports practice facilities and recreation/entertainment offerings for the athletes, among other criteria. Host Towns are also responsible for planning activities for the athletes to introduce them to the community and help spread the word about the Games. More Host Town selections will be announced in the coming weeks.
The City of Santa Maria joins the growing list of officially proclaimed Host Towns, which includes Long Beach, Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Studio City, West Covina, Manhattan Beach, Arcadia, Burbank, Palmdale, La Mirada, Santa Clarita, Palm Springs and Glendale. More Host Town selections will be announced in the coming weeks.