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Holiday feeling

HEROES plans sensory-friendly Christmas Walk event

Times Observer art by Dave Ferry

If your idea of rocking around the Christmas tree is less hard-rock and more along the lines of a soft, smooth waltz, some holiday happenings may be your cup of tea — or holiday wassail.

This year is the first time that sensory activities will be offered during the Warren County Christmas Parade and Walk. The parade and walk are scheduled to take place Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The sensory activities will be offered during that time at 100 Liberty Street in Warren.

The sensory-friendly event is being hosted by Mandie Englert, Karli McCabe, Stephanie Sturdevant, and Adam Meneo. Englert is the facilitator of a group called HEROES, a support group for parents with children with disabilities.

“This is our first time doing sensory activities at the Christmas Walk,” Englert said. “We are close to the parade route so if an individual needs a break we are right there.”

“We are hoping that this would be a great opportunity for families who normally couldn’t attend the Christmas Walk to come out and enjoy it,” she said. “Our goal is to have events that meets the needs of individuals with all disabilities.”

The event will include calming Christmas music, an activity table and hot chocolate. Coffee is also being donated by White Cane Coffee Company in Warren.

Another event will take place on Thursday, Dec. 12 that includes a sensory-friendly meet and greet with Santa Claus. It is being held in the Jefferson Room at the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center, 207 2nd Ave., Warren.

“It is going to be a calm environment that is inclusive to all disabilities,” Englert said. “There will be Christmas-based sensory activities as well.”

HEROES, as well as All About the Feels, a support group for children with sensory processing disorders, and the Rotary Club of Warren County, are hosting the event.

Both events are free but donations are being accepted with proceeds benefiting the sensory-friendly handicap accessible all-inclusive playground at Lacy Park.