By Mandy Coriston
The Fairgrounds announced late last week that they’d been unable to find a vendor to provide scooter or wheelchair rentals at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show this year, after their long-time vendor withdrew due to a personal matter. The announcement came Thursday, July 25 via the Fairgrounds website and social media.
According to fair spokeswoman Karen Cafasso, several options were explored, including finding another outside vendor, reaching out to local business who supply mobility devices, and leasing the equipment and using the fair’s own staffers to handle rentals. However, none of those options proved to be time- or cost-effective, given the 10-day run of the fair, the insurance, and the amount of equipment and/or people needed, she said. The fair remains accessible to those with mobility concerns, including new ramps and entrances to some buildings, including the Richards Building and Barn 6, but they will have to bring their own equipment.
Public response to the announcement has been mixed. A post relating the news on the Fairgrounds’ official Facebook page amassed more than 175 comments; some were grateful to have advance notice of the issue, and some people expressed frustration and a sense that fair officials had somehow been negligent by failing to have a backup plan. Others called the lack of rentals discriminatory. It should be noted, while the Fairgrounds are required by law to provide full access to their facilities, they are not legally bound to provide mobility equipment to its visitors.