Friday, May 14, 2010

Greek Festival NOT exactly accessible

Wheelchair accessible obviously looses something in translation when it comes to the Capitol Region Greek Festival of Camp Hill, PA.

It has been 20 years since Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA) became law yet too often people with disabilities still find that they are 'not exactly' completely welcome.

Visiting the Greek Festival today we were disappointed to discover that the promoted “browse and enjoy” gift shops of Greek clothing, books, ceramics, icons, jewelry, and handcrafted items are accessible only to those who can WALK up and down stairs.

How rude!!! … and their loss as Patti loves to browse, shop and 'spend' at festivals and street fairs. 

However living with Multiple Sclerosis for 20+ years we do not let obstacles define our fun.

We usually try to arrive about 30 minutes before any festival or street fair begins. Vendors are always open and glad to help. Once the crowds arrive being in a wheelchair is like being in a forest of buttocks.

Having no idea what was what when we encountered an overwhelming array of desserts, a kind worker helped select us a sampler. Trying to take a picture of our yummy desserts I had to laugh as an impatient hand crept into the camera view finder …
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral hosting the Greek Festival was certainly beautiful.
As temperatures climbed into the 80’s and clouds gave way to sun and humidity one frustrated shopper ‘denied access’ to shopping started getting cranky about everything and anything. MS fatigue and Uthoff’s Phenomenon rules!
Heading out, soon Patti was happily laying down for a nice air conditioned afternoon nap with a belly full of treats. 


Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
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  1. that was sad that Patti couldn't view the vendors; it does seem like they should have planned this better; I can't imagine Patti and you would be the only group of people who could not maneuver steps. Seems like the vendors would have liked an opportunity for all to be able to have a chance to purchase their wears

    yummy on the desserts, though; I think I would have been impatient to want to sample them too!


  2. Betty, yeah you would think especially vendors would see the light; however sometimes able bodied people simply see with blinders on their eyes.

  3. I wouldn't be too harsh on the able-bodied, when looking at deeper truths you usually find they mean well and feel ashamed when they "forget" we all need help. Also, I admire your ability to go with the flow, but it isn't your job to adjust, it's their job to accommodate.

  4. I was at the Greek Festival yesterday around lunch time and it was packed. I even wondered why a women was bringing her double stroller with 2 small infants into the hall. I have MS, but am able to walk, but I agree, I can't imagine how anyone in a wheelchair would have been able to maneuver. I did not have time to go downstairs to "browse" the vendors, but did notice that they were in the basement. Are you from this area? I live only a few blocks from the Greek Orthodox Church; e-mail

  5. I find most non-handicapped don't have a clue and don't think about "us". As long as they follow the law, they've done their part.

    My MS is advanced to the point I can't stand without holding on to something or walk. It's frustrating to see what fulfills the laws, but doesn't work being used!

  6. Your suggestion to go early is great, Patrick. I stopped going to fairs and festivals because they are claustrophobic when you have a butt-level view, but (sorry) they are frequently slow to get started in the morning. Maybe we'll give that a try. Thanks!

  7. Patrick - I love your stories, both the good and the bad. Well-written, paint a great picture, good photos to add some "color."


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