KEARNEY, NE — Central Nebraska’s special needs community gets it own day at the Buffalo County Fair.

Marketing Director Andrea Peachey says it’s the fifth time the fair has hosted Special Needs Day and it keeps getting bigger. More than 500 people roamed the fairgrounds during the exclusive two-hour stretch Thursday afternoon.

“I think it’s great to kind of provide an opportunity to have it kind of be a private day for them to come out and enjoy it and see what the fair is really about,” Peachey said.

Jim Fields is the community relations manager at Mosaic in Axtell. He says it’s important to give special needs people privacy to experience the fair.

“Maybe they struggle to wait in line, maybe they struggle with the lights and the noise and that kind of things," Fields said. "This is a chance for them to come and enjoy and not have to worry about those kinds of obstacles.”

The fairgoers are helped out by local volunteers called buddies. Eli Godinez went through the activities with his friend Bronx Hubbard.

“You get to ride the rides, you get to see the animals and you get to play games,” Eli said.

Bronx knows what he likes at the fair.

“Oh I know… go on rides, have fun with my friends,” Bronx said.

And his favorite…

“Big rides," Bronx said. "Any big ride.”

Special Needs Day is a free event and, according to Peachey, a valuable part of fair week.

“You are seen, you are special, we do care about you and we want you to be a part of our community. Just offering that for them, I think, is super important,” Peachey said.

The efforts of fair staff and volunteers are noticed by participants like Bronx.

“Yeah, that’s good. That sounds awesome and it is awesome,” Bronx said.