- FUN FEATURES
For the second straight year, the Cheshire Community YMCA is holding an event that will attract thousands to the heart of town.
This Sunday, May 22, the YMCA is hosting the Healthy Living Expo at Bartlem Recreation Area and 5k and 10k runs down Route 10. Event organizers are hopeful that this week’s dreary weather will have cleared by Sunday morning to make way for the expected 1,000 runners in the certified 5k and 10k runs. The Healthy Living Expo consists of dozens of vendors from all walks of the medical field scattered throughout Bartlem park. Registrations for the event begin at 8 a.m. and organizer Bill Costello can’t wait for Sunday.
“The community has been so responsive. This is a different event,” he explained. “It combines different fun and healthy activities. We’re putting it all together. This is a reminder to get up and get active.”
The runs will begin at 10 a.m., but not before a tribute to First Responders is held at the park. Costello said the ceremony will be a way to honor all First Responders and those in the medical community who help save lives. He said it was for everyone “on the front lines responding to emergencies.”
A large 30-by-60-foot United States flag will also be on display, hung above the road for runners to cross underneath. This is a special flag, as it has flown over Ground Zero in New York City from July 4 to Sept. 11 each of the last 10 years. Costello works in Manhattan and his office is near Ground Zero. In the atrium of a nearby building Costello saw the large flag and asked if he could borrow it for the event. After some negotiations, the flag is coming to Cheshire to hang proudly in the wind.
“We salute our First Responders,” Costello said.
Throughout the morning, there will be different talks given at Bartlem park. Some topics include the prevention of sports injuries, dental care, and women’s health. Last year, there were around 60 vendors at the event and this year more than 100 are expected. The vendors are extremely varied, from doctors’ offices to pharmacies, from dentists to hospital representatives.
Costello said there has been an amazing response from the Cheshire community and beyond.
“We’d have overwhelming support,” he said. “It exceeded our wildest expectations.”
Costello explained that, at last year’s Expo, a pharmacy was conducting blood tests during the day. Around 50 screenings were conducted and approximately 15 drew a “red flag” for follow-up with the person’s doctor. In one case, the person was found to be a diabetic.
“A little community event might have saved a life,” Costello remarked.
This isn’t just an event for the avid runner in the house, however, as Costello believes there will be fun for the whole family. All day, there will be a large inflatable obstacle course for both young and old to navigate, a moon bounce and other activities, including a fun run for the kids.
“This isn’t just for yourself, it’s for the whole family,” he said. “It’s all about healthy living.”
Costello said there was some concern as to how to follow up an event as successful as last year’s, but added that it wasn’t too hard to maintain and build on the enthusiasm. Initially, there were thoughts that it would be difficult to recruit vendors and find volunteers to help out with the event. Those concerns were immediately relieved, Costello said.
“It wasn’t as hard as we thought. Everyone wants to be a part of this in any way they can,” he stated. “Cheshire always responds to community events in a big way.”
For more information on the event, visit the Web, www.cheshirehealthylivingexpo.org.