By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — The city’s annual Homecoming festival is just around the corner and a new event is scheduled Friday to make all attendees feel welcome during the celebration.
The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Dearborn Community Fund and the city of Dearborn for “Special All-Stars Day,” an event created to help children and adults with special needs participate in rides at the festival taking place between 9 a.m. and noon at Ford Field Park.
The 33rd annual Homecoming festival runs Aug. 3 to 5.
Special All-Stars Day participants can ride on rides such as the merry-go-round, Super Slide and Bumble Bee, Tea Cup, Ferris Wheel, Tilt-a-Whirl, The Fun House and bumper cars for free.
Many rides such as the merry-go-round offer wheelchair assistance, said Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Membership Services Renee Aloe, who created the event.
“This event allows special needs children and adults to be able to participate in their own homecoming, community festival comfortably,” Aloe said.
Aloe added that her inspiration behind creating the event came from a similar event at the Traverse City Cherry Festival, which helps children and adults with special needs ride select rides.
“They’ve done it for over 12 years,” Aloe said of the Cherry Festival. “I spoke with someone up there and combined it with what we do here. We’ve had quite a bit of positive feedback.”
Aside from amusement park-style ride, attendees can also partake in face painting, games and a dance party, Chamber President Jennifer Giering said.
“There is a large segment of our popluatlion with special needs,” Giering said. “Both children and adults have never been given the opportunity to paticipate in homecoming in such a manner. We want to create a positive experience for children, adults and caregivers.”
Registration for the event is available online at www.dearbornareachamber.org. The deadline for registration is July 31.
Light refreshments also will be available in the shelter next to the tennis courts. Wheelchair repair will be available.
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])