Thank you for registering for the Step Up for Down Syndrome 2021. It is my pleasure to serve as the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota and welcome you to this year's Step Up for Down Syndrome walk. Whether you are walking with us at Como Park in St. Paul or walking with us virtually at home - we are so thrilled you will be joining us to connect and celebrate with families from all across the state.

I am pleased to announce that we have already raised $280,000 and we are on track to hit our goals of $300,000 making this our most successful fundraiser ever. Your commitment and support to Step Up for Down Syndrome will allow us to:
  • launch new support services like our Family Connector and Parents First Call programs;
  • grow our World Down Syndrome Day Classroom Kit program which is on track to reach 1,000 classrooms and 25,000 students in 2022;
  • offer world class speakers for webinars and educational programming like our Statewide Learning Conference (rescheduled for April 2022);
  • and introduce new programs like Improvaneers, Performing Arts, ToneRocks Choir and Down To Box (coming October 2021).
Visit the DSAMN Program Tent or www.dsamn.org to learn more.

The information contained in this email will help you navigate the walk, whether you are joining us for the first time or are a seasoned vet. Please pass this along to friends and family that may be joining.

See you Sunday!

Sarah Curfman
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota
Arriving at the Park
Location: The Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk is held at Como Regional Park - Park Midway Picnic Pavilion, also known as East Picnic Grounds or East Pavilions Picnic Area. The official address is 1199 Midway Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55108.

Parking & Shuttle Service: Parking at/near Como Park is limited and can fill up quickly. We will be running continuous shuttles from Bandana Square again this year. Shuttle service starts at 9:00 AM and will run until 2:30 PM. Bandana Square is located at 1021 Bandana Blvd. East in St. Paul.

Registered Walker T-Shirt Pick Up: For walkers who registered on or before Sept. 19, your $5 registration fee included a free t-shirt. T-shirt pick-up for Registered Walkers will be located in a large white tent on the far side of the pavilion. It will be marked by large red balloons and balloon pillars. If you already have your shirt (either you chose shipping or your team captain picked it up for you), you do not need to check in. Please plan to pick up your shirt by NOON - Registered Walker T-Shirt Pick Up will close at NOON.

Onsite Registration: Onsite registration is available for $5. The $5 onsite registration fee does not include a free T-shirt but does help cover the cost of renting Como Park and putting on this event. Onsite Registration is located right by the T-shirt pick up tables. Onsite registration closes at 11:30AM.

Team Donation Drop-Off: If you have cash or checks that you have collected and are planning to bring to the walk, there will be attendants at the T-shirt Pick Up and Onsite Registration tables ready to assist.

Information, First-Aid, and Lost & Found: There will be an information kiosk located in the picnic pavilion area. It will be staffed all day. Staff will have first aid supplies and a walkie-talkie to assist with lost items and lost children/family members.
This year, you just need to remember 9, 10, 11. Doors open (t-shirt pick up opens) at 9:00...program and concert at 10:00...walk at 11:00! Check out the full schedule below:

9:00 AM - Registration/T-Shirt Pick-Up opens; Shuttle service from Bandana Square begins

10:00 AM - Concert for all ages with our friends KOO KOO KANGA ROO! Awards Ceremony & Program immediately following.

11:00 AM - Official Walk Start (Please note this is 1 hour earlier than previous years.)

DSAMN Program Tent is open 9:00AM to 2:00PM

Food Trucks are open 10:00AM to 2:00PM

Merchandise is open 9:00AM to 2:00PM (2021 leftover walk t-shirts go on sale at NOON.)

2:30 - Last Shuttle from park to Bandana Square
Venue Details
Main Location: Como Regional Park - 1199 Midway Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55108.

Parking & Shuttle Service: Bandana Square - 1021 Bandana Blvd. East in St. Paul.

Walk Route: The full walk route is about 2.2 miles and starts at the far end of the Como Regional Park Field and goes around Lake Como. There will be a shorter route (about 1 mile) that is just around the field.

There will be large colorful balloons flying high above some key locations to serve as location markers to assist you meeting up with your team, friends and family.

Red for T-shirt Pick Up & Onsite Registration
Blue for Program Tent
Yellow for New Parent Meet Up
Pink for Merchandise
Tips for First Time Visitors
Tracy Hafeman - New & Expectant Parent Program Manager (and veteran Step Up participant) - offers the following tips and tricks to help manage your first walk.
  • Arrive early enough to give yourself plenty of time for parking and shuttle. With over 4,000 people attending, parking spots fill quickly and the crowd can feel a bit intimidating at first. Plan on using the shuttle service from Bandana Square. 
  • Giving yourself plenty of time (and taking a deep breath) will help you feel less overwhelmed! 
  • Please stop by and check out all of the program offerings in the DSAMn Program Tent (marked by Blue Balloons). 
  • If you are the parent/family of a child with Down syndrome age 2 and younger, we have a designated New Family area in the Program Tent (marked by Yellow Balloons) that is open all day. It is a great place to meet other families, grab a snack, receive additional resources, and get your "First Walk" sticker.
  • If you are meeting up with family and friends, we encourage you to plan a designated meet up spot using the balloon markers. The New Family Area (Yellow Balloons) is a perfect spot!
Other Information
Program Tent: This year there is a large DSAMn Program Tent located directly next to T-shirt Pick Up. You can register for Fall Programming and you can connect with representatives from all of our programs and services including Family Connectors, New & Expectant Parent Programs, Parent Groups, Grandparent Group and more. The tent will be staffed and open from 9:00AM - 2:00PM.

Food Trucks: We are excited to have 5 food trucks onsite again this year. Expect everything from hamburgers to pulled pork sandwiches to burritos and tacos...plus donuts, coffee and ice cream. There will be multiple gluten-free options available.

Merchandise & 2022 Calendars: Our merchandise booth will be open 9:00AM to 2:00PM on walk day. You will find DSAMn hoodies, onesies, tumblers and you can order your 2022 Calendars and October Awareness Merchandise. If you are celebrating at home or want to skip the line, check out our October Awareness Merchandise at the DSAMn Online Store
Note: If we have extras, the Official Walk T-Shirts will be available at noon at the merchandise tent. They will not be available otherwise.

Donations & Onsite Registration: Onsite registration will be available day of for $5 (does not include t-shirt). The official Step Up Campaign will be open through the month of October to allow for Donations before, during, and shortly after the walk. Please feel free to forward this email on to others who are interested but may not have donated or yet. https://www.ds-stride.org/stepupminnesota

Volunteers Still Needed: We still have just a few volunteer spots open to make the walk a success! Feel free to pass this link along as well. https://forms.gle/zsgVmMNZuriPTv2o8
COVID-19 Precautions: COVID-19 is still affecting our world and therefore our walk. Here are a few more details to make the walk as safe as possible for all our community members.
  • If you or a member of your household have COVID, are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, or are awaiting test results...please celebrate at home. We will miss you but thank you for helping keep our community safe.
  • Please bring a mask. Our venue is outside and in a large field where we can easily spread out. That being said, there will be areas that are more congested. If you are in an area where you find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with a stranger (i.e. t-shirt pick up line, bathroom, food truck line) we ask that you be a courteous community member and put on a mask.
  • The main focus of this year's event is the concert and walk. You will find fun friends and characters along the walk route - be on the look out for pirates, superheroes, and Rachel the Ranger and her band of dinosaurs. They'll be handing out stickers, dancing, and providing comic relief along the route.
  • In an effort to limit the spread and the amount of single-use plastic, we are asking people to fill your reusable water bottle at home. Beverages will be available for purchase at the food trucks. We will have a limited amount of bottled water available onsite.