Event makes fair sensory friendly
Jacksonville Journal-Courier - 7/12/2019
Jul. 11--This year's Morgan County Fair for the first time will have an event setting aside a time for the carnival to be open just for children with special needs and their families.
Toss for Autism and the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation worked with the fair board to bring about Sensory Friendly Day.
Cameron Jones, fair board member and secretary, praised Fountain City Amusements, the company running this year's carnival, for helping make the event possible.
"We're just glad we can help make this opportunity available," Jones said. "The carnival company is very good to work with and they were very interested in helping out and doing this for the kids."
By having a special event, children with special needs will be able to ride the carnival rides when it's less crowded and there is less additional noise, as well as more awareness from the adults and volunteers who are present.
Toss for Autism founder Jay Boulanger brought the idea to the fair board and it came together quickly.
Boulanger said one of his organization's biggest goals in raising awareness is for there to be more community-centered events for families and children with special needs in the area.
"Children with special needs, it can be very difficult for them to be in large crowds -- they get overwhelmed very easily -- and so we wanted to be able to bring this event to them, to be able to know that there's a time and place for them to come and not have to worry about their child acting out, becoming panicked or anything like that. They can just come enjoy a fun day at the fair stress free," he said. "At the end of the day, the fair is for kids."
Sensory Friendly Day at the Morgan County Fair will be Friday from 3-4 p.m.
The event is free for families of children with special needs and special wristbands can be picked up at the carnival ticket booths. It is open to children pre-kindergarten age through 12th grade.
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