The big Palm Beach Boat Show may be this weekend, but there’s another boating event very dear to our hearts that is trumping that one: the Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities.

This daylong event at Spanish River Park allows a lot of people who don’t get out much—disabled kids and adults and wounded warriors—to enjoy a barbecue, boat rides, live entertainment (a non-stop concert, for starters), therapy ponies and service dogs, exhibits and more—and it’s all free.

Boca resident and PR guru Jay Van Vechten is its brainchild and executive director and says it's now the largest event for people with disabilities in the nation with 6,000 attendees, 500 volunteers and 30 yachts giving people rides.

It is the kind of day able-bodied people would enjoy, and may take for granted—but it’s not so easy if you have a seen or unseen disability or you are an overextended caregiver. This is the gift of lighthearted fun and freedom and beauty, and we think it’s an event that shines a real light on the part of our community committed to lending a hand, to showing its heart when a heart is needed. Jay is still taking donations (did we mention this is free, entirely dependent on donations?)

You can go to that other boat show on Sunday; go to the real one this Saturday—or donate now. Call the Bash office at 561/715-2622 or mail a check to Boating Beach Bash, P.O. Box 99, Boca Raton, 33429.

Here are the event particulars:

When: Saturday, March 22, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where: Spanish River Park, A1A, Boca Raton

Who it celebrates: Kids, adults and VIP Purple Heart recipients with physical and/or intellectual challenges

Check it out: BoatingBeachBash.com or visit their Facebook page.