State Fair Expands Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities
State Fair will include three new programs to ensure more visitors are able to
enjoy the annual event, which begins on Wednesday, July 24.
year’s fair will have wheelchair/mobility charging stations, technology to
connect people who are blind or have low vision to an agent who can help with
navigation, and a dedicated sensory-friendly morning for individuals with
pleased that Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is helping to
expand access to the fair by providing wheelchair/mobility charging stations and
navigation aid technology. The fair also will offer a dedicated
sensory-friendly time to visit,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a news release.
“These resources will help even more people celebrate Ohio’s products,
businesses, people, and history. Whatever you are looking for, you can ‘Find It
Here’ at the Ohio State Fair!”
stations are in marked areas in the Bricker MarketPlace Building, Kasich Hall,
Lausche Youth Center, Natural Resources Park Pavilion, Taste of Ohio Cafe and
the WCOL Celeste Center.
Ohio State Fair is a great way to recharge from work and enjoy the summer,” OOD
Director Kevin Miller said. “Since visitors usually spend the entire day at the
fair, it’s important that charging stations are available to keep wheelchairs,
scooters and other mobility devices going strong.”
made available with support from OOD and theNational Federation of the Blind
of Ohio, fairgoers who are blind or have low vision can useAira--
which stands for Artificial Intelligence Remote Assistance -- to connect, for
free, to a remote agent via a cell phone or through specially-fashioned
glasses. Both the application and the glasses allow the agent to access visual
information, which is especially helpful for navigating a large, unfamiliar
area. The agent is also able to locate users through GPS and direct them to
places of interest.
to the efforts of OOD and the Ohio State Fair, people with disabilities will be
able to enjoy the fair in a way that has not been available to us before,” said
Eric Duffy with the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio. “We hope this is
only the beginning of an effort to build a more inclusive Ohio."
collaboration with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), the Ohio
State Fair will turn down the lights and volume in an effort to host a
sensory-friendly morning event on Wednesday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Fairgoers will have an opportunity to ride the rides with no flashing lights or
music, visit the fair’s educational activities, take a break in the OCALI Quiet
Room, and explore the many activities in the shade of theOhio Department
of Natural ResourcesPark.
the fair can be a bit overwhelming for some people,” Ohio State Fair General
Manager Virgil Strickler said. “By offering some quiet opportunities and
soothing activities, we’re supporting an enjoyable morning for all families.”
OCALI, we believe in a world where everyone deserves access to their community.
These new features at the fair help to create a common experience with unique
considerations that allow greater access for all people,” OCALI Executive
Director Shawn Henry said.
additions build on the following efforts the Ohio State Fair already had in
and most restrooms are accessible.
and non-motorized wheelchair rentals.
language interpretation (by advance request).
assisted-listening devices for use at the WCOL Celeste Center, Main Street
Stage and the UnitedHealthcare Gazebo Stage.
seats for concerts in the WCOL Celeste Center (purchase directly from
Ticketmaster by toggling the switch with the wheelchair icon or selecting a
seat with a wheelchair icon).
thankful for partnerships with OOD and OCALI to make the fair an inclusive and
welcoming space,” Strickler said.
Story originally published in The Hannah Report on July 23, 2019. Copyright 2019 Hannah News Service, Inc.