Dearborn held its annual Homecoming over the weekend, with all the best parts of the summertime tradition: live music, carnival rides, fair food and mingling with neighbors.
To kick off the event was a very special event for community members of all abilities.
It was the sixth year for the Special All-Stars Day as a part of Dearborn’s festival and the event included games and activities, free carnival rides, face painting and a dance party.
“Special All-Stars Day has become part of the Dearborn Homecoming each year because it kicks off the city's largest event, allowing children and adults with all levels of disabilities to enjoy the festival like everyone else, and without all of the crowds,” said Renee Aloe, organizer with the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Special All-Stars look forward to the event each year because this event is customized just for them. They enjoy selected rides, activities, a dance party, games, light treats and more.”
The scene was definitely one of a good time. I met some of the families there and talked with them about being treated for the day.
“I love having a place to bring her where she can be independent,” said Stephanie Mooney, caregiver for 23-year-old Samantha K., who is deaf.
Samantha met another deaf girl and was able to make a friend. Her abilities didn’t stop her from taking part in the dance-off, either, but she said her favorite part was all the games. She even saw people from her school, which made her excited, Mooney explained.
“We have such a good time when we come, everything is set up just for her,” she said. “The activities are at her level. It’s their day, I’m just here to drive.”
Aloe said the event is family-focused.
“The parents and guardians enjoy the event, we invite the participant's siblings to come and cheer on their Special All-Stars and enjoy the event as well. It is a safe event for everyone to have fun and is easy for the families too,” Aloe said.
Mooney also brought her son along, 13-year-old Owen.
When asked what his favorite part of the event was, it was just too tough to decide.
“Everything!” he said.
Disney princesses were also on hand, along with some of the most-loved superheroes like the Little Mermaid and Iron Man.
And, like any meaningful tradition within the community, the event was made possible by so many from Dearborn, Aloe explained.
“This free event has come together because of the support from the businesses and members of the community, who participate every year, either sponsoring the event or volunteering,” she said. “This is one event that is here to stay.”
The event was sponsored by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Dearborn, Dearborn Community Fund, Wade Shows Inc., Fordson Varsity Alumni, Mayor O’Reilly’s One Dearborn and Little Caesars Pizza (Dartmouth/Monroe). Entertainment by Mark Demers-MotorCityDJ.com and Lil’ Jimi Dearborn.
For more information about the Special All-Stars event, visit www.dearbornareachamber.org.