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Dutchess County to Host 5th Annual Special Needs Picnic
Carnival theme, new attractions highlight Aug. 15th event at Freedom Park

Published: 7/25/2017

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro invites children with special needs, their families and support agencies to the County’s fifth annual Special Needs Picnic on Tuesday, Aug. 15th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Freedom Park, 212 Skidmore Road in LaGrange. The picnic is a free event; reservations are required and can be made at

Special Needs Picnic 08-15-2017County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County is proud to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ about our neighbors of all abilities, and our annual picnic provides children with special needs and their families, who often face everyday challenges, a care-free day of summer fun. This event also gives those families the opportunity to connect with organizations and agencies that benefit countless children throughout our community. It’s one of many ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ events we hold throughout the year to show Dutchess County’s dedication to serving every resident of every ability.”

The picnic is a collaboration of multiple Dutchess County Government departments, including Community & Family Services, Public Works, Behavioral & Community Health, the Office for the Aging and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.

Among the additions to this year’s picnic are a carnival theme including games of skill and entertainment, the Little Brays of Sunshine therapy donkeys, Blue Path autism service dogs, BeeBee the Clown, storytellers and more. Local service providers and agencies will also be on hand to assist families in need of services for their children with special needs.

The lunch menu will include a gluten-free option of grilled chicken strips, in addition to hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, watermelon, yogurt, popcorn and microgreen smoothies, among other options.

The annual Special Needs Picnic is made possible through donations from the community; this year’s sponsors include HRHCare Community Health, Helping Other People Everywhere (HOPE), Greystone Programs Inc., Williams Lumber & Home Center, Guardian Self Storage, Rhinebeck Animal Hospital, New Horizons Resources, Inc., Simply Gourmet, and Dutchess Tekcon Industries Heating and Cooling. Local businesses interested in being an “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” sponsor can call (845) 486-3319 for more information on sponsoring this popular event, as well as other “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” events throughout the year. Sponsorships include prominent recognition on all future promotional materials for the picnic.

County Executive Molinaro conceived the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative in 2015 as a way of fostering a more welcoming and inclusive community for individuals with special needs. Dutchess County has since taken numerous steps to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY,” including holding events such as the annual picnic for children with special needs and their families. More information about the initiative is available at

Download the Special Needs Picnic event flyer (.pdf)