By Kelly Youngblood
A special education teacher in the LeRoy School District wants everyone, including children with disabilities, to be able to enjoy a day at the fair.
Danielle Cooley, who teaches special education at LeRoy Junior/Senior High School, has organized the first ever “Special Person’s Day” at the LeRoy Fall Festival on Aug. 24 from 12-3 p.m.
This free, three-hour event, which includes select midway rides, a sack lunch, and snacks, will provide children with developmental, physical, and/or sensory disabilities and their families with a private day at the fair.
Cooley hopes the opportunity will enable families and students with disabilities to enjoy the fair experience with fewer challenges and less stress.
“The lights, sounds, and large crowds often are too overwhelming for some individuals,” Cooley said. “This no lights, limited sounds, and friendly volunteers (event) allows for families to come to a mostly stress-free fair.”
Cooley said there wouldn’t be many rules for those attending Special Person’s Day. Participants can go on rides multiple times without getting off or “however they see fit.”
“If there is an individual who sits on the Ferris wheel for an hour, that is okay!” she said.
In addition, sensory stations will also be set up for anyone who doesn’t enjoy rides.
Cooley said the decision to hold the event during the school day was due to their ability to get peer volunteers to help and also to not take away “prime time” from Swyear Amusements.
“We are very thankful they are opening up for us for this awesome private event,” she said.
In addition to Swyear Amusements employees, volunteers and peer buddies will also be on site to help individuals get on and off rides and with games.
Even though students would have to miss a few hours of school to attend, Cooley said the opportunity is “just as important as a school day.”
“As a special education teacher, I would be thrilled to take my students on a field trip like this,” she said. “It is an event that targets many goals and objectives in a very authentic way.”
Registration and lunch will be held from 12-1 p.m. Carnival rides and games will be held from 1-3 p.m.
Participants are asked to RSVP by Aug. 24 to Danielle Cooley at 309-224-3484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online registration can be completed here.