The fair will dim lights and sound July 31 to accommodate special needs visitors.

The Ohio State Fair hopes to attract some new families this year by creating a sensory-friendly morning where the typical midway lights and sounds will be lowered. Officials from the fair, which runs July 24 through Aug. 4, consulted with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) to make the event more welcoming to those with special needs.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 31, fairgoers can try the rides on the midway with no flashing lights or music, take a break in the OCALI Quiet Room and explore educational displays.

The fair joins a growing number of special attractions in Central Ohio that are carving out opportunities to ensure that people with special needs can enjoy their events. Many local arts groups, for example have organized sensory-friendly performances of plays, movies and concerts. (See the "Related content" links for a sampling.)

Find details for the fair’s sensory-friendly morning from OCALI. The organization also created a social narrative that families can use to prepare their children for the fair. A social narrative is a short story designed to help people with special needs prepare for a specific situation. Often, the stories describe an experience as well as discuss what the expected social responses to the event might be.

For more information about the 166th Ohio State Fair, go to ohiostatefair.com. 

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