RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Many passerbys in Van Neste Park paused to join outdoor yoga classes and watch Irish dancers click their heels during the Oct. 4 Ridgewood Health Fair spearheaded by Ridgewood Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck.
The inaugural event was part of the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign — an ongoing initiative that promotes healthy lifestyles — and reeled in between 800 and 1000 guests.
Despite hurricane warnings, the health fair proved to be no different than anything else Hauck has organized, she said: it was unsurprisingly successful.
“All my events are always incredible,” said Hauck, who stepped up to the challenge of launching the health fair after no other village official volunteered during a council meeting about a year ago, she said.
The challenge seemed to be figuring out how to turn an otherwise bland event into something fun, especially with limited funding.
Hauck and her six-person committee met monthly to plan how to “put the chocolate coating on the pill,” Hauck said. “If we had our names on it, we wanted it to be good.”
Instead of hiring entertainers, the health fair committee asked local bands and dance companies to perform surrounded by tents of more than 70 local organizations.
“It was the youth in our community at the highest level of talent,” Hauck said. “I thought you had to pay for good entertainment.”
"I hope people see that they don't have to go all the way to Hackensack for a good dentist," she added. "There are so many right here in Ridgewood."
Ninety new business will join their neighbors at next year's health fair, which Hauck expects will remain succesful
“It was a Ridgewood to Ridgewood experience,” she said. “That local piece is important — it’s what made our fair different.”
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