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Independent Voice

Special Education Students Experience Fair Fun

May 15, 2024 11:33AM ● By Debra Dingman, photo by Debra Dingman
Special education students throughout Solano and Yolo Counties took part in an exclusive time to enjoy the May Fair last week. Rotary clubs sponsored the event.

DIXON, CA (MPG) - Some of the special education students squeezed their eyes closed on the May Fair carnival rides. Others closed their eyes peacefully and looked like they were sleeping. Still others flung their arms and legs out and laughed with pure glee. In their own way, each adapted to Dixon’s 147th May Fair.

“The goal is not just for the kids to be here but for the youth to have fun, too,” said coordinator Bill Seiden of Vacaville Noon Rotary, about the 31st year of the event where Dixon Rotary Club members also assisted.

Bill and his wife, Karen, started the endeavor for special needs children to experience the Dixon May Fair with their daughter who was only three years old at the time. They have been doing the event for 30 years now. Their daughter, Kendra, is now 41.

“We have about 80 volunteers which include 45 students from five Rotary-sponsored high school Interact Clubs including Vacaville High School and Buckingham Charter,” Seiden said. He reported that there are 280 special needs children, youth, and adults that participate in the annual event.

Dixon Rotarians, President Marianne MacDonald, Jack Batchelor, Mark Monachello, Herb Cross, and Teri Ruggiero were on hand to help students.

“This is what Rotary does,” said MacDonald. “We provide service to others. Those kids would not have been able to experience the May Fair without one-on-one supervision and we were able to help give that.”

The students are from Solano County Office of Education, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis and Vacaville school districts plus private schools.

The Seidens worked with Butler Amusements to open some of the rides traditionally on Friday mornings when the fair is closed to exclusively accommodate the large group. The students also got to see the livestock exhibitions as well as experience the carnival. One young man proudly carried around the plush Panda bear he had won tossing ping pong balls in bowls of water.

This year, West Coast Weenies, a hotdog vendor with over 68 years and in its 3rd generation, stepped up to donate 500 hot dogs to everyone.