ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – All of the colors and shapes of Balloon Fiesta will fill the Albuquerque skies in just over two weeks.
This year, a new four-wheeled addition at the Fiesta aims to make it easier for families and kids with sensory needs.
Games, bean bags, and a relaxing feel are what a special trailer called “S.A.V.E.” is bringing to New Mexico’s biggest event for the first time.
“With all the burners going and all the activity, it’s a lot of noise for some of them,” said Tom Poulin, owner of Poulin Design Center and sponsor for this year’s S.A.V.E vehicle.
The trailer is a respite for kids with sensory triggers or sensitivity to things like sound, light, and touch.
Balloon Festa’s big crowds of tens of thousands of people can get overwhelming for some.
The trailer will be free for anyone to use. The group that helped pay for it to come to fiesta hopes it will help families.
“It gives the parents or the caretakers confidence too like going into those environments because they want to feel comfortable and safe as well,” said Poulin.
Balloon Fiesta Executive Director Sam Parks said the effort hits close to home as one of his family members is on the autism spectrum.
“It gets a little personal, so I would like to be able to give back to the community by learning more and more about sensory disabilities. I learned that one out of six people are affected by this,” said Parks.
The trailer will be there for all days of the event. The S.A.V.E vehicle by Kulture City will be located on the main street.
“We’re trying it this year with one vehicle. If we see that the need is greater, we can always expand in future years,” said Parks.
The sensory trailer will also have goodie bags for kids aimed at helping with things like headphones to help block noise fidget toys and other therapy activities.