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Southwest Dutchess Daily Voice serves Beacon, East Fishkill, Fishkill, LaGrange, Poughkeepsie, Wappinger & Wappingers Falls

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Gates Will Open Early For Special Needs Families At Dutchess County Fair

Residents with special needs will be able to enjoy the fair during a special opening event.
Residents with special needs will be able to enjoy the fair during a special opening event. Photo Credit: Anthony22/Wikimedia

Individual and families with special needs will be able to enjoy the Dutchess County Fair ahead of the hustle and bustle of the crowds during a “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” special fair event on Thursday, Aug. 24.

During the event, special needs families will be able to enjoy the Dutchess County Fair with a special early gate opening at 9 a.m., as well as special sensory sensitive hours on the carnival midway, said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

“We were proud to offer ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY Thursday’ for the first time last year at the Dutchess County Fair, and it was great to see so many families enjoy this ‘Distinctly Dutchess’ annual tradition," Molinaro said.

Each year, the Dutchess County Fair, New York State’s second-largest county fair, hosts nearly half a million visitors and offers visitors a chance to enjoy live entertainment, carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, horticultural displays, and so much more. However, for some individuals and families with special needs, the lights, sounds, and crowds can make it difficult to enjoy all the fair has to offer, particularly those individuals with sensory processing issues. The flashing lights and loud music, in addition to waiting lines for rides, can cause stress and anxiety.

During the "special" event the fair will open its gate at 9 a.m. to allow those with special needs to enjoy the fairgrounds, including the animal barns on Livestock Hill and the 4H Exhibit Hall, ahead of the crowds.

While not all of the attractions and exhibits will be open, the soft opening provides families a chance to ease into their day at the Fair as the fairgrounds “wake up for the day,” ahead of the arrival of the crowds.

Additionally, the carnival midway area will open at 9:30 a.m. and will be “sensory sensitive” until 11:30 a.m. The flashing lights, music and other sounds and noises will be turned off until 11:30 a.m. to give individuals who are impacted by sensory processing disorders a chance to enjoy the rides without the drawbacks that wait time, lights and sounds can cause.

The Dutchess County Fair runs Tuesday, Aug. 22 through Sunday, Aug. 27th, For more information and a full schedule of the Dutchess County Fair’s events, click here.

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