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Festival with a heart
Carnival slows pace, opens for special needs families
Three festival-goes zoom down the giant slide Friday in J.F. Gregory Park in a race to the bottom during the 15th annual Great Seafood Festivals private opening for families with special needs individuals. - photo by By Magdalena Bresson

The last five years of the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival have been “extra special” thanks to a handful of dedicated volunteers and a community of eager ambassadors.
Since 2008, the festival carnival has opened for two hours on the first day of business to welcome families with special needs individuals — and this year was no different.
Bonnie Proctor, event organizer, was on hand Friday to share in the fun and help the families celebrate a rare opportunity.
“The amazing thing that I learned last year that I hadn’t necessarily thought of was that for some families, it’s not just the child that has to miss out on things like this — it’s the parents and the siblings, too,” Proctor said. “This is an extra special treat for the entire family.”
From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday, the carnival slowed down its rides and lowered the noise levels for children and family members that might ordinarily become overwhelmed by a traditional carnival setting.
According to Proctor, only 100 admission tickets were sold — not for lack of space or staff, but rather to preserve the atmosphere that makes the carnival enjoyable for people with special needs.

Read full story in Oct. 18 issue of the Bryan County News. 

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