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Palmdale named Host Town for Special Olympics

OW Staff Writer | 6/6/2014, midnight

The city of Palmdale has announced that the community has been officially selected to participate in the Special Olympics World Games “Host Town” program from July 21–24, 2015. 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, Palmdale will be a place where athletes and guests can find abundant dining, entertainment and shopping options at local sites such as the region’s retail center, the Antelope Valley Mall, as well as the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark and Devil’s Punchbowl. Athletes will be able to enjoy the city’s numerous community programs, including Thursday Night on the Square held during the summer at Poncitlán Square in downtown Palmdale and the Palmdale Summer Concert Series. Athletes will also have the option to partake in Family Movie Nights at the Palmdale Amphitheater or keep cool at the DryTown Water Park.

“It is quite an honor to be selected as a Host Town for an event that’s as well-known, admired and respected as the Special Olympics,” said Mayor of Palmdale Jim Ledford. “We look forward to welcoming all the athletes, coaches and visitors to Palmdale—the birthplace of the space shuttles—and sharing our wonderful hospitality and amenities.”

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.

Communities interested in serving as Host Towns can learn more by visiting the World Games website at www.LA2015.org/host-town.