Central Wisconsin will soon add another landmark to its diverse selection of family activities.
Local residents, Patrick and Destiny Hoerter had a vision to develop an all-inclusive playground where children of any ability can play alongside their friends and family. The playground will enrich social skills, sensory learning and promote physical fitness in a safe environment for every child in our community. After two years of fundraising their vision is nearly a reality. JoJo’s Jungle Groundbreaking Event and Children’s Festival will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 21 at Brockmeyer Park in Wausau.
A number of local businesses and organizations will offer carnival games, arts, crafts and woodworking projects. Event sponsor 89Q will be at the festival playing music and Space Walk of Wausau will be bringing out their bounce house and slide. Festival patrons can indulge in fair food from multiple vendors and watch performances by local children’s groups. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m., complete with a ribbon cutting. The festival is completely free to attend.
The Hoerter’s young son, Josiah, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. He was never able to walk, talk or gain any kind of independence. Josiah, nicknamed JoJo, died a few months before his third birthday. At that time, the family made a promise to develop the ultimate all-inclusive playground in honor of their son.
“May 21st is a day for us to celebrate Josiah’s 5th Birthday by showing our commitment to see this promise through,” said Destiny Hoerter, Josiah’s mother. “We realize more than ever the immense need for this playground, and we want to invite the whole community to be a part of the promise to build JoJo’s Jungle. It is a true celebration.”
JoJo’s Jungle, a component fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, has a fundraising goal of $2.4 million dollars, and has now raised over $1.2 million dollars, giving them the momentum to see the development through.
“It is so uplifting to see a community come together and support such a great cause. Every business and person I’ve come across has been more than willing to get involved and help bring JoJo’s to fruition,” said Sara Ierulli, volunteer event planner for the upcoming festival.
The event will be held rain or shine.