The burgers were sizzling and the basketball courts were packed Tuesday as many went to Camp Royall to celebrate Autism Awareness Day.
"I never dreamed that it would be perpetuated this far," says Mary Lou Warran, co-founder of the Autism Society of North Carolina.
Betty Camp, a co-founder of ASNC, whose own children are autistic, has watched this grow every year and couldn't be happier with the progress.
"We had to really fight to get what we have and what we see here so thrills my heart," Camp said. "I was really anxious to come today and seemed like I couldn't get here fast enough."
More than 500 people came out for family fun day, hundreds more than organizers expected.
"It's wonderful," said Amy Bullbrook, parent of an autistic child. "It means there's a lot of awareness in the community. I know families that are here that don't have children with autism, and for my family personally it's great because it's a chance to come out and enjoy camp."
And that's exactly why she says she appreciates a day like this, where autistic children can relax and have fun with other kids just like them.