Tonawanda News

September 27, 2013

Carnival fun for everyone

Staff reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — When the first Back to School Blast carnival takes place Saturday in North Tonawanda, all the familiar pieces of a Western New York family festival will be there: Games, a basket auction, face painting, refreshments, pony rides, a bounce house and more. 

But this festival comes with a little something more than that.

“The Back to School Blast is completely accessible,” said Katie Trombley, director of community engagement for Western New York Independent Living, which is presenting the festival. “It is open to the public, but we are specifically reaching out to those with disabilities. 

“I think sometimes when we think of community events, we forget about those people, and things aren’t always that accessible.”

The Back to School Blast will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Pine Woods Park in North Tonawanda. Efforts are being made to make the event as open as possible for those with disabilities of all sorts, from physical contraints to mental and psychological challenges, Trombley said.

“We’ve made sure that every entryway is accessible to people with wheelchairs,” she said. “We also have aides who are coming to assist; if there’s someone who needs assistance with playing a game, or even just needs help eating, we’re there.”

Games will be simple, so they can be adapted to different sorts of people, Trombley said.

“We want to make sure if someone has cerebral palsy or a learning disability and takes a while to play a game, they can do that,” she said. “That way, they’re not feeling as though they can’t win, too.”

The event, which will take place rain or shine, also features refreshments including hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy and popcorn. Tickets are 25 cents each, with each element — food, games, attractions and the basket auction — requiring a varied amount of tickets. Trombley saidorganizers are also trying to make sure the festival is affordable.

Those planning to attend are asked to respond to Le’Kisha Swain at 836-0822, ext. 181, by Friday evening if possible, but everyone is welcome at the event, Trombley said.

“We really wanted to try to do something special that would involve everyone,” she said. “Western New York Independent Living is an organization that believes in keeping everyone equal. We figured this would be a great way to reach out to some of our younger family members in need of some equality for fun.”

IF YOU GO • WHAT: Back to School Blast • WHEN: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday • WHERE: Pine Woods Park, North Tonawanda • TO RSVP: Contact Le'Kisha Swain at 836-0822, ext. 181.