Houghton County Fair holds 'Sensory Sensitive Day'

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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - The fair can be a fun and exciting experience for most people, but for families with children on the autism spectrum, the experience can be daunting.

The Houghton County Fair held a Sensory Sensitive Day on Friday, August 23. (WLUC Photo)

This year, the Houghton County Fair worked with the Copper Country Autism Awareness Group to create a fun and safe experience for those families.

"For many families, the fair is so sensory overloading, the sounds, the smells, the noises, that they haven't even attempted it. With big crowds as well, it's just a lot to filter out," said Janel Summers, a Autism Consultant with the Copper Country Intermediate School District.

For two hours Friday, all the rides and games at the fair ran without the usual lights, music and sounds.

"As you can see, it's much quieter. No lights and no music, I'm kind of amazed how much less sensory overload there is. It's been awesome," added Summers.

All of the families present for the Sensory Sensitive Say had their entire fair experience paid for by the groups hosting the event.

"We had 33 families sign up for the event. Skerbeck Carnival offered to buy wristbands for families, those families got their wristbands today. The Copper Country Autism Awareness Group bought gate passes as well as food and game tokens for the families," said Summers.

For the families that were involved it was a great experience for them to be able to take their children to the fair with almost no worries.

"He's not as nervous and he's not as anxious, so he's able to just sit down and relax, have a good time, and inspect the rides to see what he wants to do," said Jessica Kilpela, a mother of one of the children attending the event.

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