AP NEWS

Kidstock comes back with fun for all

February 16, 2019

Kidstock Carnival is back, with two hours for kids with special needs and a day of fun for anyone in the community.

From 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 23, kids with special needs can enjoy the activities at the D&N Event Center, such as temporary tattoos, 12 kinds of inflatables, a petting zoo, exotic animals, laser tag and raffle prizes. The rest of the public is invited from 1 to 4 p.m.

Some of those activities, like an obstacle course, hippo game and a slide, can also be enjoyed by parents, said Becky Rossell, an event organizer.

Tickets are $3 for children and $5 for adults. Concessions are also offered. All proceeds go to the Autism Society of Nebraska, and the money stays in Nebraska, Rossell said.

For kids who have sensory difficulties and other special needs, “just having less people makes things easier,” Rossell said. “It’s just not so busy. That’s basically the bottom line.”

Rossell, whose son has autism, said that sometimes children who have autism or other special needs “have meltdowns” when a crowded venue becomes overwhelming.

Rossell added that the event still sees many kids and people at one time.

“I’m not going to say it’s a totally sensory-friendly event, because when you get in the D&N there’s going to be people,” she said. But “this is a place where if something happens, people aren’t going to look at them and think, ‘what’s happening there?’” she said.

She added that this also gives relief to the parents.

Kidstock replaces walks that the North Platte chapter of Autism Society of Nebraska had in the past. In last year’s two-hour block for children with special needs, organizers saw 150 kids, Rossell said. In all, 750 kids attended that day.

“With our first year, we planned on maybe 150,” she said.

Rossell also rated the event’s success by another measure.

“There were a lot of smiles,” she said.

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