Festival of Human Abilities celebrates people with disabilities

Hip+Hop+dancer+Auti+Angel+dances+with+her+crew+during+the+Festival+of+Human+Abilities.+on+Saturday%2C+January+25.+Photo+credit%3A+Derrick+Coleman

Hip Hop dancer Auti Angel dances with her crew during the Festival of Human Abilities. on Saturday, January 25. Photo credit: Derrick Coleman

Derrick Coleman

Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific celebrated their 17th annual Festival of Human Abilities with events such as adaptive scuba diving, hip hop dancing and classic guitar and dancing performances.

Peter Marineaue, marketing manager for the aquarium, said “what inspired this event is our desire to reach out and include people from diverse backgrounds to come and connect with the ocean and with each other.”

This event saw the debut of a new product from Epson smart glasses.

Matineau said, “this is the first year that we’re providing these Epson smart glasses which provide captioning in both English and Spanish in our Honda Civic theater film.”

These glasses allow audiences to simply sit back and enjoy the feature presentation, in whichever language they are most comfortable with.

The event also featured wheelchairs that could be checked out for those who needed them as well audio tours and braille visitor guides for guests who had any vision impairments.

The purpose of these devices is to enhance the experience of guest who lives with any kind of disability, allowing everyone equal access to nearly all programming and events,

Show descriptions were written for guests who were hard of hearing or deaf, and sign language interpreters were also provided at every event.

Maineau said, “this is the only event that’s quite like this, where we have lots of performers, where there’s dancing and music and classes and all the demonstrations.”

This event was a celebration of the creative and positive sphere of people with disabilities.

Through interactive programs within the personal classes, live performances, demonstrations and more, the aquarium is helping to build knowledge and understanding while also bridging the gap between able-bodied people and those with disabilities.

The focus of the festival is really to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families and make a transforming experience, something that’s empowering.