Nine years ago it was a good idea that resulted from a community questionnaire, people getting together to share information about health and safety resources that are available in the local area. Today the annual Village Fair has become a community tradition. A model that has been exported to Russia through the efforts of Rotary International where health fairs continue to grow as an effective means of improving peoples health and well being.
Last weekend as volunteers transformed Soldotna High School into a convention center that hosted more than 100 booths and vendors, record crowds lined up for everything from DNA swabs to safety helmet fitting, blood testing to musical healing.
Visitors to the Village Fair were able to enjoy relaxing massage and gather a myriad of information on staying healthy.
"It has become a marvelous opportunity for people to get together and to know that over the years people have gone home more aware of the health services offered in our community, or with a new safety helmet that may save a child's life this summer makes us feel wonderful," said Jane Stein, Healthy Communities Healthy People steering committee and one of the original organizers of the Village Fair. According to Stein the Fair was a sellout with over 100 booths and while no one kept an official count of visitors, everyone agreed attendance was far greater than last year.
"Everyone said the served a lot more people than last year. The Senior Citizens sold out of raffle tickets, some 65 helmet were fitted by the Safe Kids folks, there were more blood tests than ever before, and the Blood Bank collected 33 units and had to turn people away at the end of the day," added Stein.
Jane Stein, Healthy Communities Healthy People steering committee and Helen Theriault Bridges volunteer, talked with hundreds of interested residents at the Village Fair last weekend.
The Safe Kids booth continued their tradition of providing properly fitted bicycle helmets for $5.00, "It's an on going need. Kids grow, helmets get damaged or lost, and our goal is to keep kids safe when riding in our town, so we need to keep doing it every year," said veteran Safe Kids volunteer Jane Feltman of CPGH. Central Emergency Services had a booth where safety information on fire prevention and carbon monoxide poisoning was in good supply. Chief Jeff Tucker said that prevention is what their job at CES is really all about.
Primary sponsors of the event include Central Peninsula General Hospital, Wells Fargo Bank, and Healthy Communities Healthy People. More details on this year's Village Fair are available at Bridges by calling 260-3800.
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