Exercise demos at wellness fair

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Last year over 500 people attended the Clayton County Wellness Fair. This year's organizers are, front from left, JoAnn Janssen, Kari Harbaugh, Emily Moser; back row, Leigh Ann Judge, Shane Anderson, Lynn Bockenstedt, Tracy Yelden, and Claudia McCalley. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Area health resources will come together next month for the fourth annual Clayton County Wellness Fair & Family Night, co-sponsored by Guttenberg Municipal Hospital, St. John's Church, Clayton Ridge Schools, Thrivent, Clayton County Dairy Promotion, Families Helping Hand, and Prairie Farms Dairy. The event will take place at Clayton Ridge High School in Guttenberg on Tuesday, April 14, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The wellness fair will fill the high school gymnasium with over 40 vendors. New this year, the multipurpose room has been designated as an area specifically for interactive presentations. Exercise demonstrations will include weight lifting, balance exercises and equipment-specific instruction. “These groups are going to have a lot more space than before,” said Kari Harbaugh, one of many volunteers who help organize the annual countywide wellness fair. 

A professional health market place navigator will be in attendance to provide information on health care coverage options. Resources for families who may need specialty clinics will be available, and cancer-related support groups and education will also be represented at the wellness fair. Numerous organizations will have booths offering various health screenings as well as information on area fitness, recreation and education opportunities. The event includes information relevant to people of all ages living all across Clayton County.

There is no admission fee, and all refreshments and activities are offered at no cost to those who attend. Healthy homemade snacks are expected to include cheese sticks donated by Clayton County Dairy Promotion, milk from Prairie Farms Dairy, water, trail mix and popcorn. Thrivent Financial has donated $250 toward refreshments, and a local Girl Scout troop has volunteered to help at the refreshment booth.

Harbaugh gives credit to Clayton Ridge students for their help. “The school plays an important part. The kids volunteer, help unload displays and clean up.”

Last year, the wellness fair attracted about 500 people. Each person who attends will receive a survey, and giveaways and drawings will be held throughout the evening. 

Outdoor activities continue this year with the Guttenberg Fire Department giving tours of the Blank Children’s Hospital Fire Safety House, which offers hands-on learning to prepare children for the unexpected and frightening experience of a fire. A fire truck and the Guttenberg Police Department will also be on site. The street in front of the school will remain closed until 7:00 p.m. to accommodate these outdoor activities. 

The Clayton County Wellness Fair has the potential to significantly impact the health of county residents while also providing an opportunity for agency interaction. High school students get to attend during the school day, and prior to the event opening at 4:00 p.m., agencies in attendance get a few minutes to network and view each other’s booths. Organizers invite young children to return with their families after the school day.

To donate, volunteer, or ask for more information about the Clayton County Wellness Fair, please contact Kari Harbaugh at the Family Resource Center, 252-3215.

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