"Think Differently Thursday" will be held at the Dutchess County Fair this year on August 22nd. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Dutchess County Fairgrounds President Andy Imperati are inviting individuals and families with developmental disabilities to attend the fair that day starting at 9 AM.

The Dutchess County Fair will open that day at 9 AM to allow people to attend who have developmental disabilities ahead of the fair crowd with this special early gate opening. Not all attractions will be open but there will still be a good deal to do if families arrive early on the 22nd. The Fair's carnival midway will open starting at 9:30 AM. And  from 9:30 AM to Noon they will have sensory-sensitive hours throughout that time period to make that part of the fair more friendly to guests who may need to experience it the midway in a quieter state.

The Dutchess County fair is the state's second largest fair featuring live entertainment, carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, horticultural displays and more. For folks with developmental disabilities the lights and sounds of the fair plus the crowds can be unsettling. So, offering an entrance time with few people, fewer flashing lights and less loud music and noise can make the difference for those individuals. It reduces the stress and anxiety and gives families a chance to enjoy the fair which otherwise might be overwhelming for some people.


Dutchess County Fairgrounds President Andy Imperati said, “It is really important to make everyone’s experience at the Dutchess County Fair an enjoyable one. We are once again delighted to partner with the County to offer ThinkDIFFERENTLY Thursday this year. What I think is really great is that many other fairs across the country have introduced and incorporated this type of program at their fair. ”

This initiative was started in 2015 by County Executive Molinaro. Since then many communities have adopted the concepts for their events. It has helped make Dutchess County a community which is supportive and inclusive for individual of all abilities.

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