EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) The crowds showed up a little earlier than usual today. That’s because Special Kids Day returned to Fall Festival for the first time in three years.

Special Kids Day’s been around since 1989, but it wasn’t around the past two years due to the pandemic and other concerns related to it. Both kids and their chaperones were glad it returned in 2022.

“The Fall Festival is so wonderful,” said Levi Riggs of Evansville.

A wonderful start to the day for these kids to experience the wonder that is fall festival.

“I’ve been getting lots of prizes, going on lots of rides,” said Riggs. “I like the spinny rides, I like sometimes, the Merry-Go-Round.”

It was the first Special Kids Day since 2019 after the pandemic canceled the 2020 Fall Festival, and last year’s Special Kids Day was called off due to an EVSC no field trip policy for that school year and other factors. Chairman Jon Yeager estimates up to a thousand kids and chaperones attended this year, larger than their usual crowds of 600 to 800.

“The Nut Club has really missed it, and you can tell the members are all excited. I’m excited. It’s awesome. We’ve been doing it since 1989, and to not have it for two years was definitely a burden,” he said.

Jessie Smith, who brought her kids to the event for the first time. says the day lets her children experience the fall festival without them having to handle being around large crowds.

“It wasn’t so overwhelming for them. Everybody else around, kind of, understands and so, if my child gets overstimulated, and has a meltdown, nobody looks at you strange,” she said.

The kids who attended this morning’s special kids day were invited from Evansville area schools and districts in other nearby counties.

(This story was originally published on October 4, 2022)