For the first time in its history, a Sensory Break Space will be available at the Avon Rotary Corn Festival. The Sensory Break Space will take place in the backyard of the Avon Free Library, located on the southern end of the festival at 143 Genesee Street from 10am though 3pm.
Mike Ford, Avon Rotary Corn Festival Chairperson, believes the new addition to the festival will allow for greater participation in the annual event. “I couldn’t be more thrilled about the Avon Free Library’s decision to host a Sensory Break Space at this year’s festival. Inclusivity and accessibility are paramount, and this initiative ensures that all attendees, regardless of their sensory needs, can fully enjoy the festivities. It’s a testament to our community’s commitment to creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed and valued.”
The one day festival attracts thousands of visitors from the region and features lively performances on multiple stages, over 135 craft vendors, and 25 food vendors. The stimulating atmosphere, while a signature of such events, can be overwhelming and even debilitating for certain individuals. Studies show that as many as 1 in 20 people experience sensory processing disorder, a medical condition in which the brain has a difficult time interpreting and responding to the many stimuli being collected through their senses. While many individuals with autism experience sensory processing issues, many others are affected including those with ADHD, PTSD, dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, as well as those without medical diagnoses.
The Sensory Break Space was thoughtfully designed with these individuals in mind. The inclusive and comfortable space will provide a quiet, calming area that will help individuals achieve emotional regulation. Upon entering the shaded backyard, visitors will be greeted with cold water, comfortable seating, sensory toys to fidget with, noise reducing headphones, and even a small tent for those that may benefit from enclosed spaces.
“One of the most important jobs of the library is to provide a safe space to our community,” according to Grace Frenzel, Avon Free Library Director. “We are so excited to take that idea outside the library’s walls and hope the Sensory Break Space allows folks to engage with the Avon Corn Festival in new and more accessible ways.”