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Special Needs Guests Not Allowed on Rides at Mississippi Valley Fair

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The Mississippi Valley Fair is taking heat after not allowing some special needs guests to get on rides Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

Tuesday was Special Needs Day at the fairgrounds, and thousands are expected to come out this week. It was also the first day of the 2014 Mississippi Valley Fair. Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds General Manager Bob Fox told us Wednesday, July 30, 2014 that the ride company, Evans United Shows, didn't make it clear to guests that some of the rides had height and weight restrictions on them for children with special needs. Then when parents were told their children couldn't ride the rides for free, they became very angry.

"I found out what happened at the turn ways right after lunch, and we jumped right on it," Fox said Wednesday. "It went viral, and I felt terrible about that. I wouldn't do anything in the world to hurt these children or these adults, and when we found out about it, we got right on it. We tried to correct it, and we will correct it.

Other guests said that workers were very rude to them on Tuesday. Fox acknowledged that Wednesday. He says he's holding a meeting with workers from the company Wednesday to make sure the problem doesn't happen again.

In return, special needs children will be welcomed back to the Mississippi Valley Fair on Sunday, August 3, 2014 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Admission for them will be free.

1 Comment

  • C.

    I went yesterday with my special needs sibling and didn’t realize until we got home and read on the news that special needs adults/children were being discriminated against because they wouldn’t let us on some of the rides due to their disabilities.
    First we went to the tilt-a-whirl and asked if it was running, the young man standing at the entrance didn’t speak English well and he was pointing at the ticket booth, I asked him again, and still didn’t understand him. Then of course the himalaya is always down on special needs day, nevertheless. Then we went on the pirate ship and the worker pointed to his watch and he wasn’t very fluent in English either and said something like, “it’s almost 12 o’clock, you only have a few more minutes.” I thought the rides ran til 2pm? I don’t know what that was about, so we moved on.
    I understand that there are ride restrictions, height or weight, and everyone no matter their condition should follow those rules. However, we shouldn’t of been turned down on most of the rides due to being special needs. It’s not right. The himalaya or tilt-a-whirl is no more dangerous than the pirate ship or the smaller version of the falling star ride, The Galaxy. All, if not most, special needs adults and children were with a caregiver, so they were not riding alone, no different than a normal 4-6 year old riding rides with an adult.
    But being special needs, doesn’t mean you’re different than other people, ALL special needs adults and kids should be treated equally. Treated like they’re human, not abnormal. If you’ve never raised or took care of someone with special needs, you will never know what it’s like. You will never know how hard it is to feel accepted, not feeling like you’re not welcome here.
    So, with that being said. I don’t see no problem with any parent, guardian, suing the responsible party or filing a Americans with Disabilities Act complaint alleging disability discrimination.
    Oh, and only one hour, on a Sunday morning nevertheless? Is that really the best you can do to make it up to these special needs adults and children? Talk about adding insult to injury.

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