It’s a busy time in Antigonish as the town prepares for a group of special visitors later this month.

In two weeks, the Town of Antigonish will host the Special Olympics 2018 Canada Summer Games and the community is proud of its historic first.

“We’re the first town to host it,” said co-chair Carl Chisholm. “Normally it goes to a city, and we're very proud of that and we want to make sure that we put on a great show for them so that hopefully other towns across the country will see that it is possible to do it.”

What makes it possible is the high level of cooperation between the town, Antigonish County, and St. Francis Xavier University.

The Special Olympics torch left Ottawa last month and when it arrives in Antigonish, more than a thousand athletes will be competing.

Of course, there are also coaches, support staff, family, and lots of volunteers.

“We were looking for 600 volunteers and we have over a thousand that have stepped up, wanting to volunteer in one way or the other,” Chisholm said.

There are several Special Olympians in Antigonish, looking forward to bragging about their community.

“Very excited it's going to be in my hometown,” said athlete Kristina Richard.

“I'm so excited for the Special Olympics, being chosen, and all of the games and all of the people that cheer me on and everything,” said athlete Nicole Roberts.

It's a feeling shared by organizers of the games.

“Small town is what attracted us to host these games, national games, at this venue, because it's so tight-knit,” said manager Matt Quinn.

The games begin July 31 and, other than the opening ceremonies, all the events are free to attend.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.