Self-defense, yoga, sound healing at Gardner health and wellness fair
GARDNER ― As the end of the cold weather approaches, city officials are offering residents an opportunity to shake off those winter blues.
“We’re still in the winter, many people aren’t going outside that often, and there are some people dealing with seasonal depression, but we want people to know that there are ways to combat that,” said Veronika Patty, prevention coordinator with the Gardner Health Department.
The first Greater Gardner Health and Wellness Fair will be held in Perry Auditorium at Gardner City Hall on Wednesday, March 15. The event, sponsored by the Gardner Community Action Team (GCAT) is aimed at providing residents a variety of ways to focus on their overall well-being – including physical, spiritual and emotional health – just in time for the arrival of spring.
“So, we decided to put together all of the local resources, the organizations, and businesses that promote well-being and get them together for a single fair,” explained Patty, adding that her team had experience putting together community-wide events, as they were the organizers of the National Night Out event in the city each summer.
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Health fair designed to appeal to all ages
The health fair, which organizers hope will become an annual tradition in the community, was designed to appeal to residents of all ages, Patty said.
“It’s for the general public, family-friendly – it’s definitely for the whole community,” said Patty, adding that the Council on Aging’s annual health fair, typically held in the fall, was geared more to senior citizens.
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The event has been designed to be as interactive as possible, Patty said, with live demonstrations every half hour on various topics scheduled to run throughout the day. Fitness classes, self-defense courses, hiking tips, and line dance instruction are among the live demonstrations attendees can expect at the fair.
“We’re going to try to get yoga, sound healing, acupuncture, acupressure, and massage therapy – a lot of the alternative ways there are to take care of yourself,” Patty said. “That’s really what we’re trying to focus on.”
Self-defense, line dancing, and yoga demos scheduled
Among the vendors already signed up to participate in the fair, which will run from 5 to 8 p.m., are COBRA Self-Defense, Simply Ground Yoga, Ajna Sound Healing, and Line Dancing with Cathy Garland.
Patrick Delaney, owner of Ajna Sound Healing in Rutland, said therapy utilizing music or sound to improve overall wellbeing is growing in popularity.
“There are a lot of people who are unaware of the positive effects sound healing can have, physically and mentally, so I’m looking forward to networking and meeting other people in the community,” Delaney said.
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Stephanie Lizotte, owner of Simply Grounded Yoga/Pilates in Winchendon, said this is the perfect time of year for residents to focus on their physical and mental health.
“Coming out of winter, which is very isolating, I think now is a great time for everybody to come out from indoors and gather together,” she said.
Chantal Zpinazzola, who along with her husband, John, owns SpinFit Kickbox Fitness in Westminster, said she was pleased to be asked to take part in the health fair. “Working out is so important. It’s about feeling better mentally, physically and emotionally.”
“We always try to tell people that spring is around the corner, summer is around the corner, and more people might be thinking that we won’t be bundled up much longer, so it’s a good time to keep yourself moving,” she said.
Patty said members of the event’s planning committee wanted to invite a broad group of vendors to the event.
“We just kind of threw out names and businesses of people that we thought should be there, but then I opened it up to Facebook and all of our email contacts, asking them if they thought they might have something to offer on wellness or mental health or physical health, to please come and share their resources,” Patty said.
Other vendors at the event, which will feature raffles, activities and giveaways, will include Heywood Hospital, Recovery Centers of America, GAAMHA, and the North County Land Trust.
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Still time for vendors to sign up
There is still space available for any local businesses interested in participating in the event, Patty said.
“We’re at about 30-plus vendors now, but we don’t really have a limit on space – they can absolutely still sign up,” she said, adding that organizers were pleased with the variety of sponsors that had already signed up. “I think we’ve covered (all the topics) we thought of, but we don’t know what we don’t know. So if there is somebody out there who thinks the community could benefit from their services, their programs, their products, if it’s wellness-related, please sign up and come share your resources.”
GCAT is a coalition of community stakeholders dedicated to providing educational events for residents.