Seymour Oktoberfest offers special needs rides time for second year in a row


For a moment Friday morning, Brad Lucas watched family members take pictures of a girl on a ride flashing peace signs and hamming it up.

Of all of the things he will experience at this year’s Seymour Oktoberfest, he said that will be a highlight.

“It’s special to me,” he said. “It just makes me happy. I’m thrilled.”

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More than 80 people, including kids with special needs and their parents and other family members and caregivers, spent an hour going on five rides set up at the carnival in the B&O Parking Lot as many times as they wanted. At the end, they were given treats from a concession stand.

It was all free of charge, thanks to the cooperation of the Seymour Oktoberfest committee and Luehrs’ Ideal Rides.

The quiet ride time for special needs kids is priceless to Lucas and everyone else involved.

“To me, it’s the most important thing we do in the festival,” said Lucas, a member of the Oktoberfest committee who oversees the carnival. “We cater to everybody else, and these kids really appreciate it, and their families appreciate it, and I just love it. I think it’s the best hour we do.”

This was the second straight year for the event. Lucas said the committee knew the Jackson County Fair has offered ride time for special needs kids for the past couple of years, and other festivals do it, too.

Andy and Lorelei Schoendienst, who own Luehrs’ Ideal Rides, have offered it for many years at other festivals, and Lucas was happy they agreed to add Oktoberfest to their list.

“They are all about it, and they are always open to do it, too,” Lucas said.

Goldie Wells of Seymour brought her five boys, ages 2 to 11, to the event Friday morning. She found out about it through a flier that was sent home with her oldest son from school.

She said her husband used to struggle with severe ADHD, so seeing their kids participate in events like the ride time at Oktoberfest means a lot.

“Having opportunities like this for our kids is real exciting because he was the third-grader that had extra challenges without extra help,” she said. “It’s a wonderful community, so events like this help you put your finger on what the things are that help make the community strong and come together.”

Wells said the ride time benefits her kids in many ways.

“It just helps them to function better when there is the crowds, too, when they are familiar with the space,” she said. “They like to get really excited, and sometimes, the way they express their emotions can be a little bit different … so it’s nice that they can be extra-excited (Friday), and it’s fun to come and have them find friends and familiar faces. We ran into a teacher, and we ran into classmates.”

Wells said the event also was fun for her to watch the kids have a good time.

“It makes some of the things that are harder for them worth it,” she said. “It helps you be motivated and excited for the challenges and also some of the things that are better than when things are harder. You appreciate the leaps forward and the friendships or the things that are creating your community better when everyday tasks are more challenging.”

Trayton Hess was among the kids going from ride to ride Friday.

“It could be a blast. It could be real fun,” he said of the rides.

Hess said he was hoping the Ferris wheel would have been open, but he may try to go on it another time.

“It would be really nice so I can see the views,” he said, smiling.

Hess and the other kids should be excited to know that the ride time will be offered at next year’s Oktoberfest.

“We’ve already got plans to do it next year,” Lucas said. “Andy has agreed to it, so it will probably be here forever.”

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46th annual Seymour Oktoberfest


General festival activities

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Food, activity and arts and crafts booths open

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Biergarten open

7 to 8 a.m.: Registration for the 5K walk/run (Seymour High School commons)

8 a.m.: 5K walk/run (Seymour High School)

9:20 a.m.: 5K walk/run awards

10:30 a.m. to noon: Registration for Oktoberfest Horseshoe Tournament (Gaiser Park)

Noon: Oktoberfest Horseshoe Tournament (Gaiser Park)

1:30 p.m.: Parade (Community Drive, Second Street and Walnut Street)

4 p.m.: Game of S.K.A.T.E. (Schurman-Grubb Memorial Skate Park)

4 p.m.: Stein hoist (Biergarten)

4 p.m.: Hot air balloons arrive (grass lot on the corner of West Fifth and North Walnut streets)

5:15 p.m.: Hot air balloon race (grass lot on the corner of West Fifth and North Walnut streets)

1 to 11 p.m.: Carnival (corner of East Second Street and Indianapolis Avenue)

Throughout the day: Roving musicians Spoon Man, accordionst Larry Von Essen from 1 to 7 p.m., Cincinnati Circus Co. from 2 to 7 p.m. and Lost Mill String Band from 4 to 6 p.m.

North Stage (Third and Chestnut streets)

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Baby contest

3 to 5 p.m.: Taiko Japanese Drums

5:30 to 6:15 p.m.: Cooking demonstration with chef Daniel Orr and Dr. Kelly Baute, co-authors of “The Wellness Lifestyle” and co-owners of Wellness Life LLC

6:30 p.m.: Brat eating contest

7:30 p.m.: Talent show

Kenny Glass Stage (South Chestnut Street)

3 to 5 p.m.: Cornerstone Praise Team

6 to 7 p.m.: Midwest Station

7 to 10 p.m.: Alley Katz

German American Bank Stage (West Second Street)

2:30 to 4 p.m.: Schulhaus 4+3 German band

3 p.m.: Chicken and polka dance contest

6:30 to 10:30 p.m.: Schulhaus 4+3 German band


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