A wide variety of special events were part of the 1989 International Winter Special Olympics Games (IWSOG). The festive nature of the special events created an atmosphere for making new friends, engaging in a diverse range of cultural experiences, and providing entertainment and recreation for athletes and families for the duration of the games.
Olympic Town offered a wide variety of recreational, educational, and cultural experiences. It was centrally located in a portion of the Reno/Sparks Convention Center for easy access from sport venue sites. Attractions included opportunities to pan for silver and gold at the Sunshine Mining Company, exchange pins at the Red Lobster Pin Trading Post, create voice prints and computer generated projects through Crown International and the IBM School House, have pictures taken at the Kodak Picture Emporium, and send radio messages at the Telegraph Office. Additionally, there were opportunities to play games at the State Fair, play miniature gold, go on carriage and fire truck rides, and visit the Olympic Town Barnyard.
Coca-Cola provided refreshments and American Speedy Printing Centers provided souvenir post cards. Very Special Arts Nevada conducted art workshops whereby athletes were provided opportunity to engage in drawining, painting, water color, calligraphy, sculpture, printmaking, and paper making. Performing arts workshops included creative movement, guitar music, theater, dance, and movement improvision.
An international dance was sponsored by Coca-Cola for athletes and their coaches, featuring Club Coca-Cola, the world's largest touring music dance party, complete with a live disc jockey, the latest music videos, hi-tech lighting and special effects. In the spirit of the occasion, many athletes dressed in costumes native to their countries and geographic regions. Club Coca-Cola is currently touring the USA, holding dances at high schools, colleges, and universities to raise money for local and state Special Olympics programs. Six hundred events were projected for 1989, with an anticipated $175,000 in funds to be raised.
Night life of Reno came alive at a special Evening at Bally's Hotel and Casino. Dinner and a spectacular show of famous illusionists, dancing, production numbers, and magic acts were provided by Bally's for athletes and coaches.
About 1,500 tons of sand were spread over the Reno/Sparks Convention Center parking lot to create a man-made beachfront. Volleyball games, limbo contests, clam digs, and other beach activities were ongoing daily during the 1989 IWSOG. Special events included a celebrity/athlete volleyball match, sand castle building, Frisbee throws, and a baseball speed throw game.
One evening, rock-and-roll stars from the 1950s and 1960s, including Freddy Cannon, Merry Clayton, Tommy Roe, Johnny Tillotson, Del Shannon, and Bobby Vee gave a concert for Special Olympics participants. At the conclusion of the Games, Beachfest sand was donated to the Reno Parks and Recreation Department for use in local parks.
Lawlor Events Center, on the campus of the University of Nevada-Reno, was the site of performances by several sports figures. Among those performing were Bart Connors, 1984 Olympic gymnast, and professional ice skaters Richard Dwyer and Kathleen Melz, along with former Olympic pairs figure skaters Wayne and Natalie Seybold. …