North Georgia Agricultural Fair aims to be more inclusive for those with special needs
Music, flashing lights, crowds, and rides can be overwhelming for people with special needs. That’s why organizers of the North Georgia Agricultural Fair hosted 650 people with special needs on Tuesday so they could enjoy the fair without the stress that might come during peak hours.
Jason Boyd came to the event with his 12-year-old daughter Sydney.
"During the day you don't have the bright lights flashing that could set off a meltdown or a tantrum,” said Boyd.
Sydney has some challenges that Boyd says would make it difficult to bring her at night when the fair is crowded.
"They get to do things just like you would at night, and that would be very hard for them to do it. So, every year we add a little bit to it and grow,” said Rick Pippin.
Pippin, the manager at the North Georgia Fairgrounds, started doing the inclusive day at the North Georgia Agricultural Fair 15 years ago. So all children can have fun at the fair.
"It's a day for the children to be able to come out and be themselves and have fun in an environment that is non-restrictive and they don't have the peer pressure of the world on them,” said Boyd.
"You know what it's great, my kids have been looking forward to this for weeks,” said Jan Byrum.
Byrum is a para-pro at New Hope Middle School. She says her students can come to this event and enjoy the fair with no judgement.
For children that might need a little more time to get on and off rides, there was no rush for caregivers or parents.
“If someone needs to get picked up out of a wheelchair and put onto a ride, then that's great, we will wait, we can wait,” said Byrum.
It’s not only fun for the 650 people in attendance, but great for the teachers, parents, and fair employees that get to see the smiles.
"It's magical for them, and to see that on their faces that's a reward for us,” said Byrum.
"I'm just grateful for everything everyone does here at the fair,” said Boyd.