Spokane Interstate Fair holds first ever ‘Sensory Day’

Tuesday marks the first ever “Sensory Day” at the Spokane Interstate Fair.

Sensory Day is an event that creates an interactive and comfortable environment for children and people who have Autism and sensory processing differences.

Fair organizers, along with the ISAAC Foundation and the Arc, have created a full day’s worth of games and activities.

Holly Lytle, with the ISAAC Foundation, she said it was particularly difficult organizing Sensory Day for a place with so many lights and sounds going on.

“It was challenging, because if you, if you don’t have sensory sensitivities, you just take for granted a lot of your environment,” Lytle said.

There was a touch and feel zone, a critter cuddle area, an opportunity to meet Marie the comfort dog and the chance to enjoy fair rides without lights or sounds.

“When you go to a fair, most of the stuff you’re not allowed to touch. Some of the vendors were really great about being able to put out some displays that actually allow the individuals to touch it and experience it,” she said.

Bringing those who are sensitive to senses today made it a little easier for caretakers.

“We can’t make this day 100 percent sensory awesome for everyone, but what you do get when you come is people being more understanding because they know we’re here today. You have people just, you don’t have side glances when you have, when you’re having a meltdown,” she explained.

For John Lemus, an activist advocate for At Work and someone with a disability, he was appreciative of the day.

“It can be very frustrating to hear all of that sensory input and not be able to function. There are times where I come to big events and I just have to step out and then come back in, just so that I can function,” Lemus explained.

Sensory Day also made him feel included.

“I appreciate the sensory environment, being that which I feel safe and can come down and take part,” he said.

Lytle said some of their families haven’t been able to come to the fair in years because of one bad experience, but with Sensory Day, it was able to let them plan on coming to the fair and knowing where to go.

“To be able to see families to be able to give it another try is very, very rewarding,” Lytle said.

As it was the first time they held Sensory Day, Lytle said they took notes and looked around to figure out what they can do better for next year.

For more information on sensory day, click here.

RELATED: Thousands visit Spokane Interstate Fair on opening weekend