Festival aims to help Kids House and honor late board member

Posted on April 1, 2019 by Romi White

Elected officials will take turns inside a dunking booth during the Inaugural Norm Crowder Memorial Kids’ Fest, a fun-filled event planned to raise money for Santa Rosa Kids’ House. The event, featuring games, music and food, will take place April 13 at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery in Holley.

Former Santa Rosa County Sheriff Wendell Hall, chairman of SRKH board, said he will also take a turn in the booth after current Sheriff Bob Johnson challenged him to it. “I wouldn’t just do it for any reason,” Hall said.

Santa Rosa County District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech, whose wife Lynn serves on SRKH board, is also signed up to get dunked.

Hall said the festival is aimed not only to be a fundraiser but also to honor the memory of Crowder.

“Norm was always a person who was the first to step up when we needed help with volunteers or fundraising. You just learned to love him and love what he did, and he did it for his passion that we could make a difference in the lives of abused kids,” Hall said.

According to Hall, SRKH in 2018 served 1,000 local children who were the victims or abuse or neglect. The nonprofit organization provides coordinated, on-site specialized treatment and counseling which puts the needs of the child first.

“About 40-45 percent are sexual abuse victims, but a lot of our cases now are drug related because their parents are using drugs in the house,” Hall said. “Unfortunately our caseloads have increased.”

To help serve the growing need, construction of a 3,000 square-foot addition to the existing SRKH facility on Stewart Street in Milton is already underway.

Hall said an IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area grant is being used toward the expansion, which will provide more therapy rooms. But more help is needed.

Hall said the festival should help toward that end and also further increase awareness that SRKH serves the entire county.

“The Navarre community has been wonderful to Kids’ House,” Hall said, also praising Ye Olde Brothers Brewery owners, twin brothers Larry and Jerry Rolinson. “They have always been very supportive of us.”

In addition to hosting the festival, the brewery has also crafted a blueberry-flavored beer to be served during April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. A portion of each one of the specialty beers sold will go toward SRKH.

Rachel Breite, head brewer, came up with the blueberry take on their cream ale brew, which she said utilizes 15 pounds of fresh blueberries per keg. “Blue is the color of child abuse prevention month, so it just seemed to be a natural fit.”

The Inaugural Norm Crowder Kids’ Fest will take place from 12 noon until 5 p.m. at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, located at 4458 Hwy. 87 South in Holley. The event will also include bouncy houses, exhibitions by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office posse and K9 unit and other first responders. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and will include admission and a BBQ plate.