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Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! visit Sugar Creek Charter School in Charlotte

NASCAR driver Aric Almirola arrived in his No. 43 Ford to surprise the students at Sugar Creek Charter School on Wednesday as part of the Nathan's Famous & KaBOOM! Ready. Set. PLAY. event
NASCAR driver Aric Almirola arrived in his No. 43 Ford to surprise the students at Sugar Creek Charter School on Wednesday as part of the Nathan's Famous & KaBOOM! Ready. Set. PLAY. event
John Morrell Food Group, used with permission

On Wednesday, May 21, the students of Sugar Creek Charter School and other local residents enjoyed an afternoon of Coney Island themed excitement thanks to Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! The world famous hot dog company and the national non-profit organization honored the Charlotte, N.C., school with the event as part of their new program Ready. Set. PLAY. which celebrates play and the "playmakers" who are making play possible in communities around the country.

"We are really excited to work with KaBOOM! and are proud to honor those working to make active play an important part of the lives of children and communities around the country," said Mike Paribello, senior director of marketing for the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods and licensing partner of Nathan's Famous. "Nathan's is all about fun, family and community so being able to give back to the community, to schools like Sugar Creek, with a fun-filled night means a lot to all of us."

Sugar Creek Charter School, a previous recipient of a KaBOOM! playground build, was chosen for its commitment to promoting and protecting play for the students and the surrounding community. Nathan's and KaBOOM! will stage similar events as part of Ready. Set. PLAY. to honor schools like Sugar Creek in other locations and to further encourage activities that promote active play as a part of healthy development of children.

"The fundamentals of healthy, active lifestyles begin at home with our parents and in our communities," said KaBOOM! CEO and Founder Darell Hammond. "With support from Nathan's Famous through Ready. Set. Play., we are able to bring play opportunities to communities across the nation and inspire families to participate and incorporate play with their everyday lives."

Wednesday's event featured not only a taste of Nathan's Famous Premium Beef Franks but real Carnival style fun with interactive games and activities such as a Zoltar® Fortune Teller machine, mechanical pony ride, claw game with giveaways, and a photo booth. Students and community attendees were also surprised with a visit by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola. The driver, who pilots the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, pulled up to the event in a No. 43 Nathan's show car and spent time signing autographs and meeting all the guests.

"Ready. Set. PLAY. is a great program that Nathan's and KaBOOM! have created and I am honored to be a part of the event here at Sugar Creek," said Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports. "I am a father of two little ones so I understand the importance for them to be outside and active as they develop and grow. Anything I can do to support this cause means a lot."

Leading into the event, Sugar Creek students were encouraged to participate in an essay contest "What Does Play Mean to Me." Four students were chosen from their submissions and awarded tickets to the Coca-Cola® 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 25.

"Play is essential to the holistic development of our children and provides for greater avenues of learning, socialization, and cooperation that can be lacking in a traditional classroom setting," said Marcus Duffin, Director of After School Activities at Sugar Creek Charter School. "Here at Sugar Creek Charter School, we see play as a vital conduit for student expression and release."

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