By Margaret Waage
The Healthy Family FunFest, held February 24 at the Aqua Turf, had such a big turnout that many cars arriving at noon were being directed to park in the perimeter parking lots because those closest to the entrance were filled.
Coordinated by three organizations including the Hospital of Central Connecticut, the Southington Community YMCA and Central Connecticut Senior Health Services the group plans almost up to a year in advance, said John Meyers, Executive Director of the Southington YMCA.
“This is our fourth year promoting this event and it’s great seeing the response from both the community and the many vendors that book space for the day. During the first year the FunFest took up three rooms, but this year the entire facility from front glass room to Kay’s Pier was reserved for the day,” said Meyers.
The point of the FunFest is to create a healthy Southington. According to Meyers reminding folks of the tools they need to do that is the purpose the event serves. Meyers emphasized, “The FunFest is not intended to be money purposed. It’s more about giving people the opportunity to learn about the many resources here in town.”
Music by Connecticut ICON singers, dance performances by Cadillac Ranch Country Line Dancers and Fred Astaire Dance Studio provided entertainment. Media personality Diane Smith spoke to the crowd about her own weight loss journey and what role dieting played along the way.
Fourteen different vendors from the Hospital of Central Connecticut and other Hartford Healthcare vendors were present. Areas of specialty including sleep disorders, metabolic health, stroke, wound care, breast cancer, birthing, radiology, and colonoscopy, were represented. R.N.’s Margaret Sprague and Chris Milewski of The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s Endoscopy Center showed why it’s important to have colorectal cancer screenings. Their booth showed all the indications for having that procedure including a computerized look at the colon via a colonoscopy. Both nurses answered questions about procedure. “There have been some changes to the prep that are easier on the body. Depending on each individual, the doctor determines which would be better for each person, a pill vs. liquid prep before the colonoscopy,” said Sprague.
Doctors Christina Czyrko and Maria Christina Mirth were also on hand to answer questions about colon health and how diet plays an important part in healthy functioning.
Central Connecticut Senior Health Services vendors included local agencies such as Mulberry Gardens, The Orchards of Southington in addition to Assisted Living Services, Inc., and Alzheimer’s Association.
Kids had plenty to do with their own designated area for floor games, a gymnastics obstacle course, mini golf, hula-hoop contest, mini basketball games, dancing and a petting zoo.
Many families were given a challenge to get physically active together. Prior to the FunFest, a healthy family checklist was sent out to students in all the local elementary schools as well as local pre-schools. The challenge consisted of completing at least 15 of 20 items like going hiking together, cooking a healthy meal together, and turning off the television for a week or trying a new sport as a family. Everyone completing the checklist will be eligible for family prizes and all successful families will receive a special certificate of accomplishment. The whole idea is to get everyone moving and having fun.
Southington resident Kim Deluca said this was her first time coming to FunFest and her daughter was enjoying all the activities. Deluca took advantage of the opportunity of having her vehicle inspected for proper use of car seats and seat belts. “My daughter is three and my son is eighteen months. This is a great opportunity to make sure everything is working properly,” said Deluca.
Southington Detective Karen Apicella was busy inspecting Deluca’s vehicle. “Many car seats are being better constructed. However, I’ve yet to inspect a seat that doesn’t require some adjustments.”