Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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July 23, 2013

ELKHART COUNTY FAIR: Disabilities Awareness Day gives those with special needs a chance to enjoy the fair

GOSHEN — A short list of exclamations overheard at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair’s Heritage Park Monday:

“Awesome job!”

“Great job!”

“You’re going to get one!”

“Nice throwing!”

Earning the praise were fairgoers giving it their all. They included Goshen’s Spencer Witmer and Tanner Powell and Millersburg’s Trevor Stickler, shooting baskets at the park hoop. There was Matt Lukasiak, going long with a Nerf ball throw.

Monday was Disabilities Awareness Day at the fair, and Special Olympics-style skills contests drew a field of competitors to the park area.

Fair Board member and event co-chairman Doug Thorne said this was the fourth year for the Awareness Day. One of the goals behind the event was to provide a way for people living with disabilities to take part in the fair.

Sam’s Club staffers came out to assist with various activities. And midway ride operators did their part to help out, too. Thorne said that for or two hours, they modified rides so fairgoers who might have difficulty with lights and loud noises could enjoy them.

Representatives from agencies assisting the disabled were on hand. They included MDC Goldenrod, ADEC, Loveway, Autism Ally, Wheelchair Help and Special Olympics. Monday’s event provided visibility for those groups, Thorne indicated, and put them in the eye of disabled people “who might not know there is an organization that can provide services to (them).”

Thorne also sees the fair event as a way for the non-disabled public to make a discovery.

“‘You know what? These people are not so different from you and I,’” he said. “So it makes us more aware of the population within our county who are living with disabilities.”

 

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Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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