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State Fair Unveils Sensory Inclusion for All

In an effort to increase accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with sensory processing disorders, the Illinois State Fair has announced two new initiatives. Statistics show that one in seven people globally live with a disability, and many others experience invisible disabilities, such as autism, anxiety, and PTSD, leading to sensory overload in crowded social gatherings.


The first initiative, Sunflower Hours, will take place on Saturday, August 12, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., during Kids Day. The fair will modify select programming, providing a softer and more calming environment. A silent dance party will also be hosted, accommodating up to 50 fairgoers at a time, allowing them to enjoy their dance party at their preferred volume.


The second initiative is the Sensory Station, located in the Emmerson Building. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., the station will offer a quiet zone with trained volunteers to help individuals and families regroup and refocus. Equipped with tools like weighted blankets, noise-canceling headphones, and calming pods, the Sensory Station will aid fairgoers in processing overwhelming stimuli.


"We are excited to partner with local organizations like Hope School and Springfield Clinic to make the Illinois State Fair more inclusive," stated Rebecca Clark, Illinois State Fair Manager.


Families can plan their visit using the guided itinerary available on the Sensory Friendly Fair website. The fair kicks off on Thursday, August 10, in Springfield.



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