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Wellness fair draws a crowd

Posted: January 31, 2009 9:55 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2009 4:59 a.m.

Crowds get health information at the Health and Wellness Fair hosted at College of the Canyons by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Saturday afternoon.

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Hundreds of local residents filtered through the first Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Health and Wellness Fair Saturday, picking up packets of information and accepting free health screenings.

"We had no idea this was going to be so successful," Chamber of Commerce President Larry Mankin said. "People were lined up at the doors waiting to come in."

Ninety-one vendors ranging from health, dental, chiropractic, beauty and fitness to car insurance and family therapy, packed the College of the Canyons Student Center.

From corner to corner, attendees interacted with various vendors and sat for free massages, extended an arm for a blood pressure screening, tried on wigs or filled out a mental health evaluation.

"This is a community that cares about being healthy," Mankin said. "I think companies are spending their fine resources on these kinds of opportunities, networking opportunities, where they can be face to face with potential customers."

Dr. Ron Bittle, of Santa Clarita's Peak Performance Chiropractic, said the company participated to support the community and promote health and wellness.

"The best type of marketing is shaking hands, answering questions and being informative," Bittle said. "It's coming in with that attitude instead of ‘let's go get new people.'"

Trish Grinnell of Stevenson Ranch's Melaleuca: the Wellness Co., stood behind a table of home and cleaning products. Because not too many people are aware of the company, Grinnell said she was on a quest to educate. The company sells products with high standards of safety and health in mind, she said.

"People have no idea the chemicals they are exposed to on a daily basis, and there are safer choices," she said.

After receiving a cholesterol screening, Linda Smith of Valencia waited in line for a bone density check.
Smith appreciated the costless testing services.

"Anything free is good in these days," she said. "I didn't think (the fair would) be this nice, there are lots of wonderful vendors."

Sally Best, of Valencia, welcomed the fair because she is searching for medical insurance.

"I'm scoping the options," she said.

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital clinical staff was on hand to answer questions about hospital services including imaging, cardiac care, mammography and smoking cessation. Newhall Memorial also provided a pharmacist to discuss concerns about prescription drugs.

"He's been one of our busy guys," spokeswoman Laura Young said.

Through the event, the chamber aimed to provide information about healthy lifestyles and health care services in the valley.

Sydney Nicholas, chairman of the chamber's Health Care Committee, thought the fair exceeded the committee's expectations.

"What I'm hearing from vendors is that a lot of people are actually taking their material ... it's a happy day," he said.

Cheryl Bradford and her husband were in town from Minnesota to visit relatives, but spent the afternoon at the fair.

"We came to see where we are and what our numbers are at," she said. "They fall in a good range, hallelujah."

Barbara Stearns-Cochran said a health and wellness fair is important.

"I think it's an opportunity for people to find out more about their health," she said, "and realize they need to take better care of themselves because they only have one life to live."

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