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Accessibility News Round-Up: March 2024

There is so much exciting news at the moment – the Easter Show, cake decorating exhibitions, crazy science, and more – that it’s easy to miss something amazing. Here’s a round-up of everything that’s caught my attention lately. If you have any hot tips, please share them in the comments or over on our Facebook page!

Accessibility News Round Up March 2024 - text overlaid on image of Braeden laughing and pointing to a performer in the Royal Easter Show parade

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2024

It’s that time of year again! The Sydney Royal Easter Show offers twelve days of non-stop entertainment, animal experiences, cultural displays, treat food and more. My parents took me to the show every year when I was a kid, and now we get to continue that tradition and create more memories as a family. Braeden, Amelia and I headed down there on Day 1 to make sure we got the scoop on accessibility so we could share our thoughts with anyone considering going along this year.

Braeden next to a huge statue of an open-mouthed clown at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

You may recall that last year we found there were some major improvements and some big disappointments when it comes to accessibility at the Royal Easter Show – and this year, it’s the same again. Despite providing our feedback to organisers, the door to the Changing Places facility on-site still swings outwards rather dramatically (which could collide with a person in a wheelchair and push them down the ramp if they’re not expecting it). It’s also a drag that organisers have stopped offering discounted parking for permit holders, so now it’s $35 a pop.

It’s not all bad news, though. We checked out the Quiet Room (located on Grand Parade, in the Lost Persons Centre) and it’s much better and bigger than last year, a great respite from the sensory overload of the showgrounds. At the Information Booth, staff can distribute Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyards to anyone who might need additional support.

When booking a ticket, check your eligibility for a PWD (Person with a Disability) ticket, which entitles you to have a carer companion enter with you. Mobility equipment (including scooters and wheelchairs) is available for hire, though the cost is a little steep and it must be pre-booked online.

If the cost of tickets and equipment stings a little, rest assured that there are plenty of free activities and lots to see and do, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth! We especially recommend the Parade – Braeden watched it three times, and was tickled pink to get a few kisses blown to him from performers.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is running from 22 March – 2 April 2024. You can find out more about accessibility at the Show on their website.

Kids will go crazy for science in Ipswich

Already worried about how you’re going to keep the kids entertained all school holidays? If you’re in or around Ipswich, there’s plenty of events and activities running over the next few weeks to take some of the pressure off. The Magical World Of Crazy Science is sure to be a big hit, a unique mix of science, magic, and the arts that offers something for every kid.

A man leaning over a microphone with a cloudy bubble suspended in space in front of him

Host Richard Scholes takes attendees on a wild ride through the Magical World of Crazy Science, showing off giant columns of elephant toothpaste, rockets zooming, massive smoking rings, toilet paper flying, giant bubbles blowing, billowing concoctions and more.

The Magical World of Crazy Science takes place at the Ipswich Civic Centre on 7 April 2024, 2-3PM. Find full accessibility information, ticket prices, and more school holiday events on their website.

International Cake Show Australia

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, like to unwind in the kitchen baking delicious treats, or simply find cake decorating videos mesmerising, you should check out the International Cake Show. This year it will feature more than 100 free demonstrations, celebrity chefs and sugar heroes, unbelievable huge sugar features, hands-on workshops, classes to suit every experience level, Australia’s largest cake and cookie decorating competition, pop up shops and more!

Promotional banner for the International Cake Show Australia with images of people decorating cakes, a circle that says BUY TICKETS NOW, and text below that reads: "Australia's Huge Cake, Cookie & Sugarcraft Show! Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-14 April, 2024"

Standard 1-day tickets are $35, with disability concession tickets available at $25 (and free entry for registered carer/companions). Kids under 12 can enter free, in the company of a grown-up. The venue (Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre) offers a comprehensive accessibility guide online, including information about parking, bathrooms, hearing loops, lifts, and more.

The International Cake Show Australia runs from 12 – 14 April 2024 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Tickets are available to purchase online ahead of time.

See the sunny side

We love to see an event that has inclusion built into its DNA. It’s a big part of the Kalbar Sunflower Festival, an accessible celebration that includes people of all ages and abilities.

The 2024 Kalbar Sunflower Festival will feature sunrise yoga and sound healing in the sunflowers, adults and children’s sunflower art classes, unique dining experiences, photography sessions, flower crown masterclasses and a range of other special events, workshops and experiences. You can even take a helicopter ride above the paddocks to see the sunflowers from above – or just wander through the fields to take it all in at ground level.

Three young women sitting on a couch in a field of open sunflowers

What began as an idea to keep spirits up during a prolonged drought has become an incredible celebration of joy and beauty, one that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer care. Organiser Jenny Jenner is determined to make sure everyone can experience the delight of the sunflowers. This year, she’s included a Sensory Garden, a Fairy Garden of mini-sunflowers that places them at eye-height for kids and those looking from a lower vantage point, and 180m of wheelchair tracking through the sunflowers for accessibility. The festival will also offer a Quiet Tent for visitors with sensory needs, and buggy rides through the sunflowers for those who may need assistance with mobility.

The Kalbar Sunflower Festival runs from 19-21 April 2024. Adult tickets are $32 (including a donation to the Mater Foundation Cancer Care Centre), $15 for teens. Kids under 12 enter free, as do carer/companions with a Companion Card. Find out more on their website.

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