Games, prizes, candy at annual resource and craft fair

Oct 20, 2019

The Dartmouth High School gym was packed on Sunday with families and local vendors for the seventh annual Special Education Parent Advisory Council Resource and Craft Fair.

Along with shopping for handmade goods, guests took part in a number of activities including trick-or-treating, bingo, a raffle full of crafts donated by fair vendors, facepainting, a drumming demonstration, music and movement activity, and more.

SEPAC member Kathleen Amaral said that the council organizes the event in October as part of Disability Awareness Month.

According to Amaral, the idea is to “bring lots of resources ⁠— disability specific, non-disability specific ⁠— under one roof and intertwine it into a craft fair with some kid activities so that it’s a family-friendly, free, fun event.”

“It gets better every year,” she added. This year saw 125 vendors filling the gymnasium, with hundreds of people wandering between them.

“I think it’s going well,” she said with a smile.

There was also a Dartmouth Unified Sports basketball game against local rivals Dighton-Rehoboth.

Unified Sports brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team.

Dartmouth won 27-26. But as coach John Breault said after the game, “The score doesn’t matter; that’s the best part!”

“It was a great game, a lot of fun,” said assistant coach Ashley Kocur-Pierpont. “It was awesome to see that both teams really worked hard to make sure that students got shots who in the past haven’t been able to get those shots in.”

Vendors and guests alike were happy with the turnout and the number of activities on offer.

“I love this event,” said Shainna Barber of Mattapoisett, who said it was the second time she and her seven-year-old Emma have come.

“We actually came dressed up last year,” Barber added. “She just loves it. Walk around, get candy. She’s loving the bingo.”

Bingo cards are provided at the door, and people can get a stamp from the vendors whose numbers are on their card. If they get bingo, they are entered into the raffle for the door prize, a 14-inch portable Cuisinart charcoal grill.

“We’ve had a lot of interested customers come by, and it’s very busy, which is great,” said Pamela Pasakarnis of Westport, who makes handcrafted jewelry. “It’s very nice.”

“It has been a lot of fun today,” said Rhonda Matson of Music Together.

Parent and volunteer Krystal Resendes agreed. “It’s been wonderful,” she said. “My daughter is here, she’s having a blast. I’ve seen her once.” 

Resendes laughed. “She came by to say hello, and she has been gone ever since. She is walking around with a smile on her face.”

“My wife’s into craft fairs, so she drags me along,” laughed Dighton resident John King. “It’s very nice. I’m into it anyway...We just like to walk around.”