If numbers are any indication, the Roanoke Valley is taking a real interest in becoming more healthy.
Several hundred people of all ages gathered at Ledgerwood Park Saturday to learn more about eating healthy and moving more at the second annual FamilyFest at Ledgerwood Park.
Children of all ages came out to play on the newly refurbished playground, partake in some treats provided by organizations and participate in health screenings.
Cardra Burns, director of Halifax County’s Public Health System, said Community Health Initiative events are being well received in the Valley. She said there are lots of interactive activities helping families enjoy becoming healthy.
The Initiative is made up of representatives from health groups across the Roanoke Valley. The purpose is to improve the area’s health rankings, which are some of the worst in the state.
Burns said she was very pleased with the turnout.
“(The Initiative) is great for the community,” she said.
Audrey Hardy, one of the event coordinators and director of the Initiative, said she couldn’t have ask for a better day and she was very pleased with community response to the Fest.
She said the Initiative is doing what it can to encourage people to get up and move, and to eat in more healthy ways.
“We’ve got a lot of things coming up over the next five years,” said Hardy, adding there is a push to provide better access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and to encourage exercise in family settings, such as play dates and other events like FamilyFest.
Tim Bell brought his family to FamilyFest after the Relay for Life event Saturday. He sampled the vegetable and fruit infused water at the Phi Theta Kappa booth — cucumber and lemon-berry.
“They’re both good,” he said. “I like the lemon berry best because I love lemon.”
Ebony Ivey brought her three children to enjoy FamilyFest. She said because there aren’t a lot of children’s activities in the area, her kids were “super excited” about coming.
They were able to meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie along with Doc McStuffins, played on the playground, as well as games like cornhole, pick a duck and other games for prizes.
“To me, I hope this will be more of an annual thing,” Ivey said. “I’m a recipe junky so I picked up a few recipes. I like the fact they’re promoting getting children active and promoting playing. I think things like this gets kids and parents out more. I know it does me.”
Debra Sanders, one of the FamilyFest coordinators said, “This will be an annual event as long as I can do it.”