Accessible Festival offers services and fun

Accessible Festival offers services and fun
July 20
05:00 2017

People with disabilities of all kinds danced, ate and had fun at the Accessible Festival held at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds’ Education Building on Friday, July 14.

This year was an ’80s dance party, with DJs Tim Johnson and Chaka Smith of Tru Masters Inc., complete with a dance off and lip sync battle.

There were also 17 exhibitors offering various services along with crafts, free food and games.  This is the 13th year that Winston-Salem Transit Authority (WSTA) has held the festival, which started as an outdoor event. It’s grown over the years, with well over 500 attendees in the first hour and a half alone this year.

WSTA Director Art Barnes said the festival started as an outreach to the disabled community that’s served by Trans-Aid, an on-demand ride service for qualified handicapped individuals.

“About 13 years ago, we decided we wanted to engage with the disabled community to a greater degree and bring together the institutions that provide services for the disabled with the disabled community and we said, why not make it more than that?” said Barnes. “Why not make it a celebration?”

Exhibitors at the festival had games and activities along with information about their services. For instance, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Governments, which was promoting its free weatherization program, had attendees put their name on paper “records” that were stuck to a wall like its a platinum record.

The Mayor’s Council for Persons with Disabilities was one of the exhibitors. Established in 1947, it helps agencies coordinate their services and answers the questions from businesses and individuals on disability issues. It also holds Barrier Awareness Day, to let people experience firsthand the challenges those with disabilities face, and an annual awards banquet.   

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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