FUN IS INCLUSIVE IN ILLINOIS BY JAY COPP Photos by Alex Garcia Harnessed firmly in the Sizzler, Violet Van Donk, 19, smiles widely as the carnival ride hoists her toward the sky. Watching below, her mother, Vivian, is just as happy. Vivian has taken her daughter, who has Down syndrome, to the Lions’ carnival for nearly 10 years. “She gets to spend the day with her friends,” says Van Donk. “We just can’t drop her off at Great America.” This year is special: the event happens to be held on Violet’s birthday. “This is my best birthday ever,” Violet tells her mother. For 15 years the New Lenox Lions in Illinois have held their Special Needs Day for hundreds of children, teenagers and adults. The partici-pants clamber aboard a dozen carnival rides, dance under a tent canopy to thumping music spun by a Lion-DJ and feast on hot dogs, hamburg-ers and pizza. It’s all free. It’s very much appreciated. Bob Karsc enjoys the view on the Ferris wheel ride during the Special Needs Day.