Welcome to Special Needs Day

The Capital Fair in partnership with Hydro Ottawa and the World’s Finest Shows midway has provided children and adults with developmental and/or physical disabilities a private day at the Fair for over 16 years. Hydro Ottawa’s generosity and legion of volunteers make it possible for children who would otherwise not be able to attend a fair, to hopefully have one of their best days of the year.

The Special Needs Day is always the Thursday before the Fair opens. It hosts up to 1,500 family members to a fun and FREE morning of quieter and slower midway rides, a BBQ hotdog lunch with ice cream, for dessert a Karaoke party, live entertainment and of course a petting zoo.

Guests arrive for 10:00am where Hydro Ottawa volunteers assign lunch schedules and stamp everyone’s hands so they can all go to the rides right away. That’s where the fun really begins.

In the midway, volunteers from World’s Finest Midway and Hydro Ottawa gently help guests on and off the rides. The petting zoo and Karaoke party are open in the Kids area where lunch is provided in the Hydro Ottawa lunch tent and Doo Doo the Clown entertains the guests.

A BBQ all-beef hotdog lunch is provided, courtesy of Schneider’s Canada which the Hydro Ottawa Food Preparation Team serves, followed by a Chapman’s vanilla ice cream dessert, sponsored by the Kiwanis Clubs of Eastern Ontario.

If you are noticing a theme here… yes! Please be sure to thank all our wonderful volunteers and sponsors for their commitment and dedication to making this great day happen!

After a wonderful day at the Fair, everyone is typically exhausted and on their way by 2:00pm.

And then planning starts to do it all again, next year.

Have questions? Email us at info@capitalfair.ca

What our Guests are Saying

On behalf of my husband and I, we would like to thank you for organizing the Day for special needs’ children. Our daughter was happy to be there and it was nice to see her smile. It was our first participation and we are grateful to be have been included.


Just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks to all involved for a wonderful day at the fair.  It is the only fair that our son attends all summer and he really looks forward to it.  He really enjoyed himself yesterday and couldn’t wait to go. Surprisingly one of the highlights for him this year was running into so many people he knew.


Thank you to capital fair and all your sponsors for such a wonderful day. We really enjoyed ourselves. The staff were so kind and helpful. Thank you once again.


Just wanted to thank you. My son had a wonderful time at the fair on the special needs day. My parents enjoyed it with him.  Hope this continues for many years to come.


I just wanted to THANK YOU for such an incredible day for my son!  He has never been to a fair before, and I wasn’t sure if he would like the rides or not.  He was a bit nervous the first couple rides, and then was eager to do more.  :-) He is a little guy, so he was able to ride most of the rides.  The little kiddie ones were best suited to him.  The fair staff and Hydro Ottawa volunteers were so welcoming, helped lift my son, would bring his wheelchair close to the exit while he was on the ride. It was just such an incredibly positive experience, for a little guy who finds it hard to access things.  Just can’t thank you, the volunteers, the sponsors enough.


Apply to Take Part

The Capital Fair takes applications beginning in February* each year.

Please note: We can only accept up to 1,500 participants so each family is restricted to 6 direct family members in total.


Please note the following Terms and Conditions for participation at the Hydro Ottawa Special Needs Day;

  • The 2024 Special Needs Day is on Thursday, August 15th from 10:00am to 2:00pm. While special needs families are always welcome at the Fair, there are no other dedicated special needs programs at the Fair.
  • This program is only for special needs children, 18 and younger, their immediate families and/or client attendants. Sorry, due to demand and capacity restrictions, we cannot accommodate additional relatives or friends.
  • Registration is restricted to the first 1,500 participants to apply. Registration should be submitted, no later than two weeks before Special Needs Day. Once your application has been received, please watch your email (and junk mail) for your eConfirmation. Applicants are registered on a first-to-register, first-to-be confirmed basis so the earliest you register, the better the chances of being successful.
  • eConfirmations with the waiver will be sent to your email address about one week before Special Needs Day. If you are registered/confirmed and fail to receive your eConfirmation and blank waiver please contact: info@capitalfair.ca
  • Only confirmed guests with signed waivers will be permitted on the fairgrounds.
  • Check-in takes place between 9:30am and 10:00am at the front of the Fairgrounds on Thursday, August 15th.
  • Upon arrival, eConfirmations must be presented to the Hydro Ottawa Registration Tent along with the SIGNED WAIVERS for EVERY member of your party. Each member of your group must have their waiver, even if they are not going on the rides. Only then will you receive your bracelet/hand stamp to gain access to the grounds.