Wellness festival at Winchester mall this Saturday

Residents can seek out health and wellness resources during this Saturday’s Community Wellness Festival at Apple Blossom Mall.

The 23rd annual Valley Health Community Wellness Festival will fill the mall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. offering free or low-cost health screenings, exhibits and demonstrations with practitioners and educators on hand to answer questions about health issues and support services available in the area.

Michael Wade, marketing manager for Valley Health, said this is one of the busiest Saturdays of the year for the mall.

“It’s kind of the beauty of the festival because we get people who come out specifically for it, but also potentially people who show up at the mall to shop and hopefully they find themselves having a screening done or learning about a health topic,” he added.

More than 100 exhibitors will offer information, screenings and giveaways on topics affecting personal and community health. Topics include addictions, heart disease, tooth decay, obesity, vision and hearing loss, cancer, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, epilepsy, stress, support groups, assisted living centers and nursing care. Staff on site will also advocate for CPR, prenatal health, emergency preparedness, mental health, advance directives, organ and blood donation and volunteering.

Free health screenings will include carotid artery, heart attack risk profile, 12-lead EKGs, blood pressure, blood sugar, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sight, hearing, glaucoma, KidSight SPOT screenings and body fat.

Valley Health Laboratory Service phlebotomists will draw blood from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a discounted rate.

Wade said the reduced-cost lab work is a “big draw” especially in the morning because a fast is required before the tests can be taken.

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition will offer presentations every two hours on addiction recovery, prevention, drug court and peer support.

Wade said these presentations are new to the festival this year.

“The festival attempts to address the health needs that are prominent and current and certainly the substance abuse crisis is certainly a current problem our community is facing,” he added.

Virginia Blood Services will be on site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for anyone interested in donating blood.

The Lions Club Sight and Hearing mobile screening unit will be outside the JCPenney entrance for hearing, vision and glaucoma screenings.

Valley Health also will offer free heart attack risk screenings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will also teach compression-only CPR.

A variety of food and fitness demonstrations will be held throughout the day, including jazzercise, high intensity interval training, taekwondo, yoga, soccer, Spice for Life: Enhancing Flavor & Boosting Health, and Healthy Fast Food options & Zumba.

Near the Kids’ Court, Spanish resources and Spanish language interpreters will be available to assist festival attendees.

The Shenandoah University Nursing faculty and students will hold the Teddy Bear Clinic again this year. Children can bring a teddy bear or get one at the event and watch nurses conduct a head-to-toe physical, engaging the child on vital signs, shots, diet and exercise. Kids can also participate in fingerprinting by Winchester Police Department members.

Wade said the Teddy Bear Clinic is always a favorite at the festival with between 400 to 500 kids participating.

Attendees who collect stickers from five exhibitors are eligible to enter a drawing for one of three prizes: $200 Simon American Express gift card, $100 gas gift card from H.N. Funkhouser & Co.. and a free three-month membership at Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center.

Wade added that the festival is holding #onechangetoday. He said with over 100 exhibitors at the event, it can be overwhelming for attendees.

“We want you to have fun, but really leave having picked one thing you’re going to do differently,” he said.

Attendees can fill out pledge cards on what lifestyle change they will be making in their lives and post to Facebook or Twitter using that hastag.

For more information on the festival, visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/wellnessfestival.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com

If You Go
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester