It's that time of year again. Festival season in the Milwaukee area.
And St. Dominic Catholic Parish is once again putting on its annual Dominic Days.
This year, the festival will begin a day earlier, starting Thursday, July 10, and offering even more time for families to enjoy delicious food, carnival rides, and live music.
"Usually we did three (days), but this year we decided to give Thursday a go. We wanted to give more people an opportunity to come. A lot of people have vacation homes or places that they go for weekends and they can't come to the festival because of that," Dominic Days chair John Austin said. "Thursday gives them an extra chance to come out."
In addition to the extra time that St. Dominic, 18255 W. Capitol Drive, will be opening its grounds for family fun, the festival is setting aside a small window of time to accommodate special needs children who may not have had the opportunity to enjoy Dominic Days in the past. From 3:30 to 5 p.m., carnival rides will be open only to special needs children and their families.
"We wanted a special time when families with special needs children could be a part of this and just have their own time without having to worry about other people maybe getting frustrated," St. Dominic pastoral associate Susan McNeil said. "It allows them to be a lot less anxious and provides a more supportive environment."
McNeil led the effort for the new opportunity after receiving a call from a concerned parent last year.
"For a lot of families with kids with special needs, whether they be sensory, motor, or cognitive, it's really hard to do festival rides. The kids want to do them desperately, but it's difficult when other people are getting annoyed or moving too quickly," McNeil said.
The expansion of the festival from three days to four helped to make the special needs time possible.
"I don't think it would have worked otherwise. There's so much going on on Friday, it would have been really tough to make it work," McNeil said.
After 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dominic Days will open to the public. all weekend.
The hours are 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday; 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
"We have local bands come every night, along with special dinners, in addition to the regular festival food. We've got raffles, rides, and it's just all around a lot of fun," Austin said.
Dominic Days draws around 5,000 people per year over the weekend. Admission is free, though there is a charge for rides.
"We have all kinds of carnival rides. Small roller coasters, the traditional scrambler, a big slide. There's usually around 12 to 15 rides," McNeil said.
Thursday night will feature The Love Monkeys on stage from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday will see a show put on by Road Trip with special guest Modern Giants from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday's lineup starts earlier with Hannah Mrozak going on stage from 2 to 4 p.m., 33 rpm taking over from 5 to 7 p.m., and Eddie Butts providing tunes into the twilight from 7 to 11 p.m. The Doo-Wop Daddies will be the last musical group on stage for Dominic Days, performing from 2 to 5:30 on Sunday.
In addition to the rides and music, a grand raffle will be drawn at 5:30 on Sunday.
The grand prize will be a choice between a 2015 Audi A3 Sedan or $25,000 cash. Other prizes include a big screen LCD television, an iPad Air, and a $500 gas card.
For more information on Dominic Days and a complete schedule of all events, visit http://stdominic.net/Community/DominicDays.asp or call (262) 781-3480.
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