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Health and nutrition is a constant evolution, with new tips and regimens surfacing daily and the timeless food pyramid and caloric index acting as mentor. With healthier eating options and effective workout routines a constant in headlines and social media, it was a fitting theme for the 2016 Health Fair.
Fourteen different vendors filled the gym at the Skagway Recreation Center, offering information on physical, mental and spiritual health.
New to the table in 2016, were tips and tricks that you could actually taste. Food was abundant and readily available for visitors.
Dahl Memorial Clinic’s Accounts and Benefits Specialist Duppy Ticarro made spring rolls fresh to order, accompanied by a quinoa salad and homemade peanut sauce for dipping. Lil’ Log Cabin provided a variety of juices, and certified nutrition specialist and coach Hana Schindler served ‘Hana balls’ and no-bake chocolate brownies.
Larger than life grapes, peas, carrots and bananas were in attendance, in the form of decorated volunteers, and take-home prizes and giveaways were plentiful. Guests left with an assortment of cookbooks, herb gardens, coloring books and abated hungers.
The Skagway Fire Department, National Park Service, AWARE, Inc. of Juneau, Guardian Flight and more were also in attendance, providing visitors with information on CPR, suicide prevention and more.
Clinic Executive Director Shelly O’Boyle said attendance was down a bit from two years ago, but those who did attend said it was the best fair yet. With an event centered around food and nutrition, she said she wanted to make sure the ingredients were both healthy and available.
“We wanted to make sure we weren’t making dishes with ingredients you can’t get here,” she said.
The event featured a lot of unknowns, as they had never incorporated food before. But in the end, the organization, preparation and cooking was all worth it.
Hosted every other year, the health fair is a collaborative project with the Alaska Health Fair, Inc., whose mission is to promote statewide health education and preventative screenings. They conduct close to 100 community events every year and provide access to free health education, screenings and affordable blood tests.
O’Boyle said without the Alaska Health Fair, Skagway’s fair wouldn’t be possible.
Clinic Administrative Assistant Jodie Brown said the theme of nutrition and fitness seemed to resonate with people and was something that residents needed to know was easy and available in the community.
“[Nutrition] is the cornerstone of good health,” she said. “If you’re eating right and taking care of your body, you will avoid a lot of the long term illnesses.”