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St. Joseph County fair hosted athletes from Special Olympics in 1987

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Although the St. Joseph County Fair never closes, 30 years ago it shut down for four hours to give athletes with the Special Olympics a day of free fun.

Diana Kuhn has worked with the St Joseph County 4-H Fair for more than 50 years. In that time, she only remembers closing the fair to the public once.

"We did for a period of about four hours in which the athletes could ride on any ride they wanted to. They didn’t have to get wristbands. They didn’t have to get tickets because it was their day at the fair," said Kuhn.

It was 1987 and the University of Notre Dame was hosting the International Special Olympics.

They bussed the Special Olympics athletes out here to the fairgrounds.

It was their day to go on the rides, go through the exhibit halls and eat in the food court.

Kuhn says it was a day of Hoosier Hospitality she remembers well - 30 years later.

"It was wonderful," Kuhn said.

She’s hoping if the athletes ever come this way again for the international competition, they come by the fair again.

"Certainly if they ever came back to Notre Dame, it would be wonderful to have them," Kuhn said.

Kuhn says the best part was showing off her community to international athletes and watching some face their fears while riding the rides.

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