Eli’s Special Experience at the Maryland State Fair

Laughter, smiles and giggles are just some of the noises the staff at the Maryland State Fair were lucky enough to encounter when a special young man and his family wanted him to experience what other kids his age get to feel when they encounter the spectacular Deggeller Attractions midway at the Maryland State Fair.

DSC09450Eli, who is five years old and autistic, wanted to experience the fun at the fair like his six year old brother Brady. Autism is a neurological disorder which makes communication and social interaction difficult. On Monday, they both were smiling ear to ear on the Happy Swing ride together.  Eli cannot vocalize what he wants, and therefore, standing in the lines and unable to vocalize his excitement could have been an issue for the family and the other people waiting for the rides.  Instead, the entire day was an experience to be remembered by both Eli’s family and the people who were lucky enough to help make his experience special.

With the assistance of the staff at Deggeller Attractions, Eli was able to have that special experience as his brother also experienced the carnival rides.

Eli’s mother, a former teacher, explained how Eli connects with movement more than any other sense. One of the trends in schools integrates “Brain Breaks” into their curriculum. By doing an activity, students are then better able to learn. Eli is better able to learn and focus while having movement in his diet.

“It is important for him to be able to go out into the community and interact with people while doing activities that other kids his age are also doing,” stated his mom.image

Eli does well with a sensory diet.  Sensory diets are for kids who need a sensory movement to stay focused, similar to when a person needs to jiggle a knee or chew gum to keep concentrated. For Eli, the carnival rides were his daily dose of movement, and Deggeller Attractions was happy to accommodate him and his family.

Deggeller Attractions works hard to cater to the needs of every family.

“Standing in line is hard for him, when he sees something he wants it right here and right now. It is something we work on in therapy with him. That is a problem with kids with autism,” said Eli’s mom.

To accommodate Eli, Deggeller Attractions provided the family a ride pass allowing them to help Eli on and off rides and even get on some rides with him (If the height and weight restrictions apply). The pass also allowed Eli to skip the lines to help with his patience, and he received a few snacks as well.

Deggeller Attractions is a traveling carnival who has rides and venues that change. Due to the traveling aspect of the rides and ever-changing venues, carnival companies do not have to accommodate people with special needs. After receiving an email from Eli mom, Deggeller Attractions made it their mission to help Eli and his family have a spectacular day at the Maryland State Fair.


Deggeller Attractions appreciated the approach the family had on the entire experience by emailing and calling them ahead of time to ask about the accommodations provided. By being proactive, Deggeller Attractions could allocate a day and time where it was less busy and could provide the experience Eli and his family were hoping for.

The Maryland State Fair is a treat for everyone. As Eli experienced the attractions at Maryland State Fair, the staff watched a young man climb on rides, close his eyes and smile, live for the moment, and enjoy the breeze and movement of each ride as he had this spectacular dose of his senses.

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