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Health panel hosts Kanawha community fair

Chip Ellis
Local band The Grass Stains entertains the crowd at the community fair in the eastern Kanawha County town of Quincy on Saturday.
Chip Ellis McKenzie Wolfe and Kayla Powell chow down on some chili dogs while they listen to music at the fair Saturday.
Chip Ellis Beachbody coach Sherry Finlen of Belle talks with Linda Nelson, also of Belle, about the workout and diet programs she offers. Beachbody is a company that offers personalized fitness training.
Chip Ellis Jessica Blankenship and her 2-year-old, Damien, roll up cotton candy to put in bags.
Chip Ellis Scott McClintock and Karen Fisher listen to live music by The Grass Stains during the community fair Saturday.
Chip Ellis Fairgoers browse the community fair in Quincy, which was sponsored by the Eastern Kanawha County Health and Recreation Committee.
Chip Ellis Sharon Hemmings of Cedar Grove paints a Tweety Bird on the cheek of 5-year-old Cheyenne Perdue of Cabin Creek.
Chip Ellis Kids get their chance on a climbing wall, courtesy of the West Virginia National Guard, during the community fair in Quincy on Saturday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During the first 20 minutes Paula Clere spent at the community fair in Quincy on Saturday, she'd had her blood pressure checked, looked at the ambulance on display and scoped out a place to get hot dogs.

The Cabin Creek resident and her son and nephew, both 10, also planned to do some shopping.

"It's fun to get out," Clere said.

The Eastern Kanawha County Health and Recreation Committee sponsored a community fair Saturday in the Walmart parking lot to raise awareness about their desire to put a community health and recreation center in the area. The fair featured food, arts and crafts, and music, and members of the health and recreation committee also surveyed fair-goers about their exercise habits.

Fred Joseph, an organizer of the fair, said the event was a means of peaking people's interests in a recreation center.

"Obviously, the most difficult thing is getting the community involved," he said, "and that's what we hope to have."

There were about 25 booths at the fair, many of which were run by other organizations looking to fundraise.

Sherry Finlen of Belle was selling exercise and nutrition products, such as workout videos and Shakeology mixes. She's a coach through Beachbody, a national company that offers personalized fitness training.

Finlen said the health fair was "interesting. There's so many obese people in this Valley," she said.

Next to her booth, moms of Cedar Grove Middle School cheerleaders scooped chili out of crock pots and spooned it onto hot dogs topped with mustard.

The team also was selling chocolate cupcakes and cookies to raise money, and the girls were busy stopping cars at the entrance to the parking lot, asking for donations.

A few tents over, Maggie Rose, 6, stood in line hugging her 4-year-old sister, Ava, as they waited for their turns to get their faces painted.

The Elkview girls already knew what they thought they wanted: For Maggie, a softball, and for Ava, a glittery heart.

Maggie thought the fair was "Cool," she said, revealing a gap-toothed smile, "because you get to get your face painted."

Sharon Hemmings of Cedar Grove painted a bright softball on Maggie's left cheek. But as she dusted glitter off Ava's design and moved the 4-year-old's pigtail out of the way, Hemmings revealed a painting of a worm wrapped around a hook.

Ava hopped off her chair and paraded around, showing off the painting that started on her left shoulder and stretched down her arm.

About an hour after the fair started, organizer Robin Holstein surveyed the crowd that had shown up, watching as people meandered past merchants and stopped to listen to the band.

"I'm thrilled," she said. "For the very first try, this is a good turnout."

Reach Alison Matas at alison.matas@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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