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First of its kind event for people with disabilities coming to Michiana

NILES, Mich. – A Michiana mother is bringing a “first-of-its-kind” festival for people with disabilities to the area.

Julie Clark, the event organizer, said she wanted to bring the festival to Michiana after seeing a similar festival on the East Coast.

Clark said as a mother to someone with special needs, she’s noticed there are few events that bring the community together while being considerate to their needs.

On August 26th, Clark and other members of the Niles Elks will host Sundapalooza. Sundapalooza is a free, all-day festival featuring games, food, music, and crafts.

Clark hopes that this event will bring together the disability community and their families together.

“There’s a different type of bond there and it’s nice to be in a situation there’s a nice opportunity to mingle with like people,” said Clark. “Then I think within the special needs community, they enjoy getting out an socializing and making new friends and experiencing something different.”

Clark says regular community events can be challenging for people with special needs. For example, the loud noises and large crowds found at events like a county fair, can be overwhelming to someone with a disability.

“In our opinion we decided it would be important to maybe reach out and do something for them, some socialization, some fun, an opportunity to make friends and different people in their same peer group and it ends up being a great time for them,” said Clark.

Sundapalooza will be held at Niles Elks Lodge from 1 to 5 p.m.

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