For eight months out of the year in Menomonie, adults with special needs gather for one day out of the week at the Leisure Services Center, 1412 6th St., which provides them with an opportunity to participate in things that would not be able to do on their own, but Julie Stratton, recreations supervisor said everyone looks forward to socializing.

Stratton said Thursday Night Thrill Seekers is one of her favorite programs offered through the city of Menomonie.

“It gives them the opportunity to do things that couldn't do in their own lives,” she said.

At the moment, she is in the midst of preparing for one of her favorite activities of the year, which is prom. It’s in its fourth year and it attracts more than 70 adults with special needs to the Stout Ale House, 1501 N. Broadway St.

Stratton is inviting the public attend the grand march, May 6 at 2 p.m.

She said Menomonie has been supportive of adults and teens with special needs.

“It's nice to live in a community that recognize this population,” Stratton said.

However, it can be hard to get the word out about everything that is happening with Thursday Night Thrill Seekers. The program has been in existence for more the 30 years and provides activities and an opportunity to socialize with other adults with special needs.

This includes a Super Bowl party, country music night, Thanksgiving feast and other special themed nights. Stratton said that not every night is a special themed event because she has found that those who come sometimes just want to talk with their friends.

“They love music,” she said. “And they love to dance.”

The ages of attendees ranges from 18 to 93. Stratton said that in the recent years a large young population have been showing up.

“They all mingle and help each other,” she said. “They are the most grateful individuals that you will ever meet.”

Stratton joined the department 34 years ago and has been in her current position for 15 years. She said that she has a brother who is developmentally disabled.

“My heart is already in tune with that population through him,” she said.

For those interested in Thursday Night Thrill Seekers, Stratton said send her an email (jstratton@menomonie-wi.gov) or call her at 715-232-1664.

Contact: 715-830-5840, ben.rueter@ecpc.com, @BenRueter on Twitter