Big Hearts FAQ

With Big Hearts just 3 weeks away, there may be a few questions floating around about this unique event. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions in order to clear up any last minute confusion and to get everyone excited about Big Hearts 2018!


What is Big Hearts? 

Big Hearts is a one-of-a-kind fundraiser that supports ESP’s mission! Through a Pageant, Silent Auction, and Banquet, ESP connects our community to the participants we serve. Big Hearts allows everyone to experience the ESP magic as our participants leave their disabilities in the wings of The Classic Center stage. Not only is this a night to shine a light on some of the biggest hearts in our community, but it is also an opportunity to raise much needed funds to keep ESP’s programs affordable.

Click here to learn more about Big Hearts:  ESP Big Hearts

When is Big Hearts? 

This year, Big Hearts will be held on Saturday, February 10th! Doors open at 3pm.

Where is Big Hearts being held? 

Big Hearts will be held at The Classic Center Theatre!

Is it really a Pageant? 

Not really! The Pageant is more of a chance to showcase each of our participants in a thoughtful and unique way. They get to be pampered and get dressed up, but at the end of the night, everyone receives a crown. During the pageant, contestants are introduced in age groups with picture and song. They have the opportunity to share their personality or a talent with the crowd. 

Does everyone attend the Banquet?

No, the Banquet follows the Pageant and supports the fundraising of the evening. Supporters can purchase tables of ten or individual seats to enjoy dinner and dancing.

What is this year’s theme? 

Everyday, the participants of ESP make bold choices; kids with Cerebral Palsy ride the zipline and individuals with autism star in a theater production. This year, we decided to honor that spirit of boldness during Big Hearts. Big Hearts Be Bold is all about being brave and taking chances. We hope you’ll choose to be bold with us at Big Hearts! 

Is Big Hearts just for ESP families? 

Not at all! All of ESP’s special events are created with the intention of contributing to the ESP mission of allowing participants and their community to engage and connect. Big Hearts wouldn’t be the same without a crowd of supporters there to cheer our participants on.

It’s also just a really fun show! Each year, our performers share a unique story that embodies the spirit of ESP and its families. This year is all about Mayor Kal and the town of Bolden! There are eye-catching sets, flashy costumes, fun choreography, and popular music to enjoy. Our contestants always have the most beautiful outfits and most unique talents. Last year’s highlight: Faceketball! Big Hearts is a heartwarming evening for all and a great opportunity to introduce little ones to people of all abilities.


What’s new this year? 

While the format stays the same, there are always new additions to keep Big Hearts exciting.

  1. We’ve got a new story all about the town of Bolden!
  2. There are new judges, MCs, and escorts every year. Expect some familiar faces from the UGA football team and our ESP MC, Sophia Smith.
  3. Local art favorite, Jamie Calkin, will be creating a live painting of Pageant for sale in the Silent Auction! Pageant guests will get to see it being created live.
  4. You’ll be able to pick your Big Hearts swag beforehand! T-shirts, mugs, and tumblers are all available for sale HERE.
  5. There’s a Be Bold Calendar! We’re making some of our participants’ boldest dreams come true with fun calendar on sale at Big Hearts.

How do I participate in Big Hearts?

Buy tickets to the Pageant! There are group rates and student discounts that make the Pageant accessible for everyone. Use code K12 to get your student discount.

 Big Hearts Pageant Tickets

The show starts at 4pm, and we usually sell out the theater. Arrive early to find parking in The Classic Center deck. Carpooling or taking an Uber are great ways to avoid this hassle! The Silent Auction area opens up at 2:30, so you’ll have plenty of time to peruse. 

Want to make an evening of it with dinner and dancing? Purchase seats at the Banquet. 

 Big Hearts Banquet Tickets

What if I can’t attend Big Hearts?

That’s ok! There are still a few ways to be bold with us.

  1. Support a Participant:  People’s Choice is an opportunity for friends, family, and community members to show their support for the individuals participating in Big Hearts 2018. Each dollar donated is a point towards that participant’s People’s Choice total. All proceeds of People’s Choice go towards supporting after school programs and summer camp. The winner of People’s Choice will be crowned during the Pageant. Below is all our participants and their stories! Click here to support an ESPer: Support a Participant 
  2. Participate in the Silent Auction: Whether you are able to attend Big Hearts or not, our Silent Auction is all online! You can still bid on your phone or computer from anywhere. You can easily track Packages by “following” their activity without having to continuously return to a table or bid sheet. Bid in the 2018 Big Hearts Silent Auction 
  3. Spread the Word: Tell your friends, family, and/or community about Big Hearts! You never know when one conversation can have a ripple effect. Share this blog or our posts on Facebook.

How do I purchase tickets? 

There are two ways to purchase tickets for Big Hearts. Tickets are currently on sale through The Classic Center box office and online. Purchase your Big Hearts online here: Big Hearts Tickets.

How much are tickets? 

Individual tickets are $18. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the reduced $13 group rate. Get together 10 of your favorite people and enjoy the Pageant together.

If I purchase banquet tickets, will that also grant me entrance into the pageant? 

Banquet guests are each entitled to a complimentary Pageant ticket. Please request your tickets while purchasing your Banquet seats. Additional tickets in excess of the complementary ones may be purchased at check out as well. Please email with any specific requests.

Are there any hotel suggestions for the weekend of Big Hearts?

Below are a list of hotels in Athens with room blocks for ESP guests for the weekend of February 10th.

The Classic City Hilton Garden Inn

February 9 & 10, 2018

390 East Washington Street

Athens, GA 30601


Book Online

Group Name: ESP Big Hearts

Group Code: 00ESP

$149 per night plus $9.95 per day parking

Holiday Inn Athens

February 9 & 10, 2018

197 E. Broad Street

Athens, GA 30601


Book Online

Group Code: ESP

$114 per night (complimentary parking)

Hyatt Place Athens/Downtown

February 9 & 10, 2018

412 North Thomas Street

Athens, GA 30601


Book Online

Group Code: G-EBH8

$149 per night plus $10 per day parking

We hope that this was enlightening, helpful, and useful for you! We cannot wait for you to BE BOLD with us at Big Hearts this year! Don’t forget, Out with the OLD and in with the BOLD!

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