There is no need to hurry as three adults in electric wheelchairs wait to be hoisted in the long swings of the Tornado ride at the Luxton Fall Fair. At this event there is no hustle and bustle; it’s just time for fun.
The fair opened for it’s VIP guests early last Friday for its annual Special Needs Day.
As they walked in the gates, the fair-goers got pinned with ribbons.People of all ages filled the grounds to enjoy a free hotdog lunch, the exhibits and of course the midway.
“I like the wheel one,” said 33-year-old Jackie, of the ferris wheel.
Jackie comes every year with other clients of the Phoenix Human Services Association.
“We really like coming here, they like to come and see lots of old friends,” said Sylvia Silvey, a care provider with the association.
The fairgrounds were packed with wide-eyed smiling faces. Guests waved and ran up and hugged all friends they remembered from the year before.
School-aged children and teens took the afternoon off school to hit up the fair. Education assistant, Elise Pastro brought two students from Lakewood elementary school. The special day doubled as an educational experience for the children.
Chase Hasasen, 10, arrived at the fair with Pastro and fellow student Tahj Raju. It’s hard to get Hasasen to try new things and break out of his comfort zone, Pastro said. So for the afternoon Raju would go on a new ride while Hasasen would watch once and then try to the ride for himself. Raju and Pastro would support him, sitting beside him on the ride.
It took some coaxing, but Hasasen found some rides he liked.
“I like going on the funky rides,” Hasasen said.
During Special Needs Day, the midway operators volunteer their time. If someone is scared on a ride, the ride operator will promptly let them off and if someone is enjoying his or herself, the rider can stay on the same attraction all afternoon.
Exceptions such as these allowed Pastro to feel comfortable bringing Hasasen to the fair.
“This is a nice safe zone,” Pastro said. “I tell my students that today a 21-year-old man could be really happy on what would normally be thought of as a toddler ride, but today there are no preconceived ideas about the rides.”
Did you know?
Each year more than 800 people attend Special Needs Day at the Luxton Fall Fair.
Belmont students volunteer time to ride the rides with those whose caregivers can’t get the gumption.