For Immediate Release:
September 27, 2019
Chief of Communications
Deputy Chief of Communications
Local Vendors and Artisans with Developmental Disabilities Take Part in the 4th Annual Fall Food & Craft Fair
Event promotes community connections and employment opportunities for clients of the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services.
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Artisans and vendors from around the state filled Main Street on Friday for the 4th annual Fall Food and Craft Fair sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS). There were more than 20 vendors and eight food trucks on site for the fair.
All the items sold at the fair were made by DDS clients and included custom-made rugs, magnets, birdhouses, holiday wreaths, paintings, and soaps.
"I'm selling our canned goods, and I sold two of my paintings. It's good for us to get out and teach others," said Charles Nash, a resident of the Arkadelphia Human Development Center. "It lets others get to know us and lets us get to know them."
DDS provides funding for community- and facility-based services to thousands of Arkansans. The division also operates five residential HDCs in Arkadelphia, Booneville, Conway, Jonesboro, and Warren, which are home to nearly 1,000 clients.
“This year's fair really took it up a notch. These artisans have a lot to offer this community," said DDS Director Melissa Stone. "People come out here and meet them, and they see what we're trying to support in terms of employment, making these clients feel like part of Little Rock and part of Arkansas, and getting them out and about more. People see the difference it makes, and they come back every year."
Clients from DDS’s Human Development Centers also competed in a holiday wreath contest. More than 20 wreaths were entered in the contest, with Jonesboro Human Development Center taking home first and second place. A live DJ also offered a full soundtrack for the festival experience. The food trucks at the fair included Kool’s BBQ, Adobo, Juicy J, JMG Grilling, Haygood’s BBQ, GQ Smokehouse, and Loblolly Creamery.
Video footage and soundbytes from the fair can be downloaded here . The soundbytes feature (in order):
- Melissa Stone, Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services
- Charles Nash, Arkadelphia Human Development Center Client
- Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism — Secretary Hurst helped judge the DDS wreath contest during the event.
Photos from the event are below, and more photos are available on the DHS Facebook page.
Secretary Hurst awarded staff of the Jonesboro Human Development Center with a first place win in the wreath contest. Vernon Martin, a resident of the Conway Human Development Center, shows off canned goods from the center's garden.
For more information about programs offered through DHS and DDS, visit www.humanservices.arkansas.gov