Fitness festival expands in focus: Mental health new target at annual event

GREENFIELD — A street festival once focused on physical fitness has broadened to promote mental and spiritual health as well.

Organizers behind the third-annual North Street Fitness Festival have decided to expand the event, which previously centered on physical fitness and healthy nutrition choices, to promote all aspects of health, including physical, mental and spiritual health.

The best method for creating a healthy community is multi-faceted, said Shelley Swift, executive director of Greenfield Main Street, the nonprofit hosting the May 20 festival. Along with athletics groups and organizations promoting physical wellness, the free fair this year will feature booths, activities and demonstrations on health topics to encourage that comprehensive approach to wellness, she said.

The emphasis on holistic health at the festival coincides with the mission of festival sponsor Healthy 365, a Hancock Regional Hospital initiative working to promote healthier living among county residents by addressing three target areas: workplace wellness, mental fitness and the availability of healthier choices to community members, said coordinator Amanda Everidge.

“Holistic health — mind, body and spirit — is essential to being a fit person,” she said. “They all tie in together, and you really can’t have one without the other being impacted.”

Mental Health Partners executive director Kim Hall applauds festival organizers for recognizing the importance of connecting area residents to mental health resources in their own backyard.

“I think it’s great they’re addressing mental health with their festival,” she said. “I believe the more people discuss their mental health problems it will remove the stigma, and other people will come forward and not be embarrassed.”

Kurt Vetters, veterans program director of Edelweiss Equine-Assisted Therapy Center, already knows how important mental health is to overall well-being; servicemen and women dealing with past trauma seeking the horse therapy center’s services to deal with trauma that left emotional scars.

Edelweiss and American Legion Post No. 119, of which Vetters is a member, have teamed up to promote mental health care and the center’s riding program for veterans. The two organizations will share a booth at the festival in order to spread the word about the service.

Swift looks forward to seeing community organizations come together for the cause. This year, they’ll work hard to prove fitness isn’t just about numbers on a scale but a person’s overall sense of worth and well-being.

“The North Street Fitness Festival is dedicated to promoting the overall health of the community,” Swift said. “We came to the joint conclusion that this would be a great way to expand on the previous year’s festival.”

If you go

North Street Fitness Festival

When: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 20
Where: North Street between State and Pennsylvania streets

Cost: Free

 

North Street Fitness Festival activities

Hancock Health

  • Zipline
  • Climbing wall
  • Salsa-making demonstration
  • Salsa dancing demonstration

Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department

  • First-come, first-serve bicycle giveaway
  • Gaga ball

Churches, sports teams, nonprofit organizations and others will also have booths with information and activities at the fitness festival.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.