• Jon McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

A special day at the Woodford County Fair

Every year, the Woodford County Fair opens early for area children and adults with special needs. This year, on June 20, they had the run of the fair for two hours for free. They came from the Stewart Home & School in Frankfort and Parrott’s Trophies in Nicholasville (a day training program for people with disabilities) and, of course, Woodford County. A fair official said overcast weather likely kept attendance down, but for those who made it out to the county park, all seemed well – aside from a few rides some chose not to embark on because they seemed a bit scary. “It’s been good so far. I like it a lot and I’m making great friends and I’m having a great time,” said Michelle Elyea, who walked around the fairgrounds with her Stewart Home roommate, Allison Sexton. They didn’t find the bumper cars too scary, though. “We really whacked someone. It was really fun,” Michelle said, laughing. Woodford Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Ricky Vaught spent part of his morning making new friends as well – friends who reminded him of two siblings with special needs. “My sister was a year-and-a-half older than me and my brother was five years younger, and I can remember growing up and dealing with kids that didn’t understand them, and made fun of them, and stuff like that,” Vaught said. “I think they’re God’s children. They’re put on this earth to humble us a little bit whenever we get to thinking a little too high of ourselves … and I just love spending time with them.” Vaught’s brother, Clint, died two years ago, but he sees his sister, Melinda, every Saturday. An employee of Parrott’s Trophies said one of their clients, a blind man, had been looking forward to going to a fair somewhere for two months. “We really didn’t know if that would be a possibility, because most fairs are at night,” said Lisa Burkhart. Then, the day Woodford fair officials picked up the trophies they’d ordered, they issued an invitation to the men and women who’d made them. About 30 employees of the company took them up on it – including the man whose lack of vision was not accompanied by a lack of joy. “He enjoyed it thoroughly. He had a great time,” said Burkhart. Allison and Michelle said it was nice to have the park to themselves. “It feels good,” Michelle said. “It feels good. Just happy.” Among the people helping the VIPs feel that way was Sydney Harris, an employee of James Gang Amusements. She buckled them into bumper cars and helped reassure those who weren’t quite sure about what they were getting themselves into. “It was awesome, seeing them smile and be all happy and cheerful about everything. It was the best feeling in the world,” Harris said. Asked how her morning was going, a young lady responded, “I was supposed to do my laundry today.” Then she smiled and said, “I’ll do it later.”

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