Wilhite explained that the playhouse is coming to
Lincoln much to the credit of Natalie Marquez of Lincoln. Marquez is
the founder of the Downs Syndrome Advocacy Group (DSAG). Marquez has
a daughter who has downs syndrome, and her goal for years has been
to bring the Gigiís program to central Illinois.
The Gigiís Playhouse is a worldwide organization that is based in
Chicago. Throughout the country and the world, the playhouse
programs have been set up for children with downs syndrome and their
The program has not moved into central Illinois because there was no
single location with a large enough population to support the
playhouse program. However, this year, Gigiís began working on a
mobile version of the program.
The Lincoln Balloon Festival was chosen as the kick off location for
the traveling program because it is centrally located between
several large cities including Springfield, Decatur, and
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Gigiís Playhouse will set up on a ďpop-upĒ at the
Logan County Airport. There will be special programs for children
and families according to age of the child. The program begins at 1
p.m. and concludes around 4 p.m. on Saturday.
See separate press release from the DSAG and Gigiís.
Chamber Events Coordinator Kari Adams noted that in addition to the
playhouse activities, children will be able to participate in some
of the other offerings at the balloon festival in a time of day when
things are a little quieter at the airport and there are smaller