The Evergreen State Fair in Monroe will host the much anticipated second year of "Evergreen Morning of Dreams" on Wednesday, Aug. 29, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event offers a calmer Fair setting for those with disabilities or special needs and their families. To help maintain a peaceful environment, the Fair will open one hour earlier to Evergreen Morning of Dreams guests than to the general public. Tickets are limited and became available for sale on Aug. 8 on the Fair's website: EvergreenFair.org.
In 2016, the Fair received a hopeful request from a mom whose child with autism couldn't experience the fun of the Fair with all its big sounds, flashing lights, and crowded spaces. She asked if anything could be done to help her family. A special Fair team, led by Evergreen State Fair Marketing Specialist Brielle Dodge, met with local parents who had autistic children, organizational experts and Fair partners to see what could be done in terms of a sensory sensitive event at the Fair. After much research and planning, Evergreen Morning of Dreams was born - a special event with all the fun of the Fair but with minimal lights, sounds, and crowds.
"Every aspect of Morning of Dreams was a huge success last year, and the only critical feedback we received from the public was a need to expand the event so even more families could have the opportunity to participate," said Brielle Dodge. "The largest compliment we received from many parents was, 'You gave my family the chance to feel normal.' We couldn't have asked for a better outcome. This year we doubled the number of tickets to 1,000."
Evergreen Morning of Dreams began making national waves and won the 2018 NACPRO (National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials) award for "Removing Barriers Initiative," recognizing a unique program that enables and encourages greater participation in parks and recreation by persons with disabilities. The event also won the Snohomish County Executive's Turtle Award, recognizing those willing to stick their neck out to better serve the public.
This year, several activities will be available to guests before opening to the general public, including:
•Farmer for a Day 9-11 a.m.
•The Great American Petting Zoo 9-11 a.m.
•Select Animal Barns 9-11 a.m.
•Select 4H and Display Exhibits 9-1 a.m.
•Calm Areas 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
•Select Carnival Rides without lights and sounds 10-11 a.m. (Additional costs apply)
Registration and payment are required prior to the event. Gate Admission is $6 per person (ages 5 and older). If a caregiver is needed to participate in the event, use code 'caregiver' online to receive $6 off your order. Parking is $10 (cash) paid at the event. Carnival tickets will be sold at the event. Individual tickets are $1, sheets of 27 are $25, sheets of 80 are $70 and unlimited ride wristbands are $35.
The 2018 Evergreen Morning of Dreams is sponsored by Connect Cheer Northwest and Ryatt Construction allowing caregivers to enter the Fair free of charge so families can truly enjoy the experience without the extra financial burden.