DES MOINES, Iowa--Every year 2,300 campground lots fill up for the duration of the Iowa State Fair, many in search of thirteen days of fun and their favorite food on a stick. "Probably the ice cream bar that's rolled in chocolate and nuts and dipped, I like that," said Phyllis Shelton.
But for Phyllis and her husband DeWitt Shelton, they were nearly forced to pass this time after camping for 16 straight years. "We had a permanent spot for all those years, but it was a great distance from the shuttles and it got to the point where it was a real challenge and we decided to almost not come."
That is until 4 weeks ago, when they noticed fair officials added handicap accessible campsites for the very first time.
State Fair Marketing Director Mindy Williamson said, "We started with eight this year, we have seven full and we hope to build even more."
The Americans with Disabilities Act says handicapped sites must be located near restrooms, pavement and any of the shuttles. They also must be available in different areas. "Camping is a big part of the state fair so we want anyone with limitations at all in getting around, to be able to do that," said Williamson.
The shelton's say thanks to the new ADA approved campsite, getting around is a breeze. DeWitt said, "I just walk a few feet to the next road." Phyllis said the impact has been immediate, "We have already enjoyed it. It's closer to the shower house, and the shuttle and we are not nearly as tired when we come back here."
Not only has the change allowed the Bloomfield, Iowa couple a chance to enjoy all of their fair favorites, it's allowed for at least one more memory at the Iowa State Fair. Seeing their great grandchild. "We have one little one that we haven't seen. Born right after Christmas," said Phyllis.
The state fair hopes to add more ADA accessible sites next year, and they will be available on a first come first served basis.