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It started out with puppies.
Now, horses, chickens, goats and even llamas are on display at Corey’s Day on the Farm.
Hundreds of special needs children attended the annual event Monday and Tuesday at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
Nick and Coleta Corey, of Silverdale, created Corey’s Day on the Farm after they brought puppies to their special needs son’s class in 1968.
The next year, the Coreys invited 26 special needs children to their farm for pony rides and homemade ice cream.
Coleta said schools heard about the event and started asking if they could bring their special needs students to the farm too.
“It just kept getting bigger and bigger and we’re just amazed,” she said.
The event outgrew the Coreys’ farm in 1986 and is now held at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
Hundreds of special needs children rode horses, pet farm animals and enjoyed wagon rides Monday and Tuesday.
Samantha Engle, of Bremerton, brought her son Nolan, 3, to Corey’s Day on the Farm for the second year in a row.
“He had a lot of fun the first year, so we came again,” she said.
Samantha said Nolan, who has a speech delay, only gets to see farm animals at Corey’s Day on the Farm and it’s a great experience for him.
“He likes the chickens. We had to pull him away from them,” Samantha laughed.
Alison Dockins, of Port Orchard, brought her daughters to Corey’s Day on the Farm for the first time Monday. Aubrey, 3, and Savannah, 2, spent lots of time petting goats, chickens and other animals.
“They love it. They love the baby animals,” Alison said.
Aubrey was all smiles when asked what was her favorite animal, but the decision proved to be a tough one for the 3-year-old.
“All of them,” Aubrey said as she glanced around the animal petting area.
Alison said Savannah goes to the Holly Ridge Center in Bremerton and both she and Aubrey had a great time at Corey’s Day on the Farm.
“I think it’s a great program. I think it’s a great way to expose them to animals,” Alison said. “It’s a great opportunity to be with all different families from different schools.”
Coleta said the children get a lot out of Corey’s Day on the Farm and she likes seeing the joy on their faces at the event.
“It really does a lot for the kids,” she said.
Coleta said teachers begin asking about Corey’s Day on the Farm at the beginning of the school year and the Coreys plan to keep the teachers, students and parents happy as long as possible.
“This is our 42nd annual and we plan to keep on going as long as we can,” Coleta said.