Photo Credit Fraser
(St Paul, MN) — May 25th, 2023 — The Fraser Festival, presented by Central Roofing Company, was on Saturday, May 20, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul. The free event and fundraiser was reimagined with new activities and experiences in eight zones that engaged the body’s senses. About 1,000 people attended, creating a day of joy, freedom, and inclusion for people and families with autism and disabilities in the community.
Individuals with autism often experience sensory processing differences that cause them to react with extreme discomfort to loud noises, bright lights, strong smells, crowds, and other stimuli, making attending community events challenging. The Fraser Festival, presented by Central Roofing Company, was an inclusive space for the community, with eight zones to engage each of the body’s senses in a sensory-friendly way.
You’re probably familiar with the five senses — taste, smell, hear, touch, and see, but we actually have at least eight senses, including proprioception (coordination), vestibular (balance/movement), and interoception (feeling).
Central Roofing Company brought an autism awareness sports car for snapping selfies. Thanks to Proprioception (Coordination) Sponsor Atomic Data, Enticing Entertainment added elements of fantasy with a floating fairy, a bubble dancer, and a juggling rabbit on a unicycle. North Star Therapy Animals delighted attendees with two mini horses, an alpaca, bunnies, cats, and dogs to pet and hug. Celebrity therapy dog, Koda the Fluff, brought smiles and joy in her tiny convertible, zipping around the festival for all to meet.
GenerationNOW Entertainment and RBG Sound created a sensory-inclusive auditory experience with a silent disco, allowing attendees to dance together while wearing headphones. SFM — The Work Comp Experts sponsored a rock climbing wall and a hula hoop workshop to kids to keep kids moving. Fun Jumps Entertainment, Inc. tested people’s coordination with an inflatable obstacle course, Dance Dance Revolution, spin art machines, and more. The Minnesota Wild Foundation had a slapshot game, beanbag toss, and a chance to meet their mascot, Nordy.
Target focused on the tactile senses with a “makerspace” with arts and crafts, sensory-friendly clothing, crash pads, and weighted plush toys. Amazon tantalized attendees sense of taste with a face painting station featuring edible face paint. Plus, there was a build-your-own smoothie station and cupcake decorating. Kids’ Hair delighted everyone’s eyeballs with temporary hair color and hair tinsel. Len Busch Roses stimulated participants’ sense of smell with fresh flowers and a garden activity.
The one-of-a-kind, sensory-friendly festival raised over $170,000 for individuals and families impacted by autism. These funds support:
- Autism programs and services for your family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers
- Increased inclusion in the community
- A growing number of children, adults, and families who are diagnosed with autism each year
- The critical need for services outside the Twin Cities
- Services delivered closer to home for all Minnesotans
Thank you to all that attended the Fraser Festival, presented by Central Roofing and helped make it a day of fun and inclusion for all our community. And a big shout-out to all the vendors, sponsors, and volunteers who made this day truly unforgettable! Because of you, everyone is included.