Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking for something to do in the Pioneer Valley?


September 17 - October 3:
The Big E - THE EASTERN STATES EXPOSITION - The biggest fair around with something for everyone: mardi gras parade, concerts, auto shows, stunt shows, historical village, petting zoo, midway, horse show, agricultural displays, and more. Thursday, September 23 is Massachusetts Day and DCR's Universal Access Program will have some adaptive recreation equipment on display behind the Massachusetts building from 10am - 1pm. Sunday, October 3 is Special Olympics Day. Much if not all of the event is quite accessible and there are wheelchair and stroller rentals. Last year I went and saw lots of people with disabilities enjoying the fair!

RIDE THE MERRY-GO-ROUND on fall weekends at Holyoke Heritage State Park: Saturday and Sunday from 12noon-4pm. The Merry-Go-Round is wheelchair accessible - you can get on the platform to enjoy the ride! Some people may be able to transfer into carriages on the carousel and the 80 year old horses are spectacular! Holyoke Heritage State Park also features historical  and art exhibits, a green space in the middle of the city, with Children's Museum and Volleyball Museum close by, all at 221 Appleton Street. Call 413-534-1723 for more info on HHSP exhibits and other events taking place on site. For the merry-go-round, call 413-534-9838.

Saturday, September 25: PAPER CITY REGATTA
takes place at the Jones Ferry Boathouse along the Connecticut River. Hosted by Holyoke Rows, this rowing race in fully inclusive - rowers with disabilities compete in several of the races. Stop in and see enjoy those sleek boats skimming along on the river. Call 413-322-5647 for more info or email holyokerows@hotmail.com.

SLED HOCKEY IS STARTING UP IN WESTFIELD! Join the Springfield Sliders Junior Team or the Western Mass Knights Adult Team. Both practice regularly at Amelia Park in Westfield, compete with other east coast teams, and participate in the annual New England Invitational Sled Hockey Tournament held every April at Amelia Park. The Springfield Sliders is an outpatient rehab program of the Shriners Hospital for Children and the Western Mass Knights are a new team just starting their second year.  Practices are Tuesdays from 5:30-7pm at 221 South Broad Street in Westfield. 413-568-2503.

Sled hockey is played like traditional hockey on a standard rink. Players sit in specially designed sleds that rest on skate blades. They use two short hockey sticks with blades on one end to control the puck and metal picks on the other end to propel themselves across the ice.

The game is very similar to traditional hockey with six players on a team, including the goalie. The goals are regulation sized and three fifteen-minute periods are played. It is fun and energetic at every level; fast-paced and physical at the highest levels.

Trails chair and teamwork allow for full trail access.
 Thursday, October 7: UNIVERSAL ACCESS HIKE at Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke. Join Brenda Davies of Stavros Outdoor Access mid-day to explore the area around Lake Bray on a wheelchair accessible trail. Look for hidden letterboxes and enjoy other fun activities as the trees turn color. Call 413-259-0009 to register and find out more!

I hope you can get out to enjoy the autumn season and take advantage of any of these wonderful recreation opportunities. Be in touch if you do and let me know how your experience goes! Hope to see you out there!

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