Community Wellness Festival returns Saturday to Baldwin City

? Although she’s new to her position as Baker University health and counseling service coordinator, Sherri Pahcoddy is aware of the potential life-saving importance of the Community Wellness Festival she is organizing with Baldwin City Recreation Commission director Steve Friend and George McCrary of the Baldwin Fitness Center.

The past two years, she helped her predecessor Ruth Sarna organize the health fair, Pahcoddy said.

“It’s different without her,” Pahcoddy said. “She manned it for many years, so she definitely knew a lot about it.”

It will be the 13th annual wellness festival Baker and the Baldwin City Recreation Commission co-sponsor. The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Collins Center, will be familiar to those who have attended the festival in the past.

Pahcoddy said about 70 vendors have signed up for booths at the festival.

“That’s in line with the 75 we had last year,” she said. “That doesn’t leave much room. Last year, we drew 300 people. We’re hoping for at least that many, or more.”

What has made the festival so important are the various health screenings offered, which in past years have provided some of those attending with potentially life-saving information. Pahcoddy said that could happen again Saturday because of the number of screenings offered.

There will be free screenings for blood pressure, posture, body fat, hearing, vision and dental health, Pahcoddy said. In addition, Lawrence Memorial Hospital will make available more extensive blood screenings, including an optional prostate PSA screen. The cost of those tests Saturday is $40, with an additional $10 for the prostate screen.

“That’s a really good deal,” Pahcoddy said. “It would normally cost from $300 to $400 for a test of that sort if you were to pay for it out of pocket.”

Free T-shirts will be given to the first 200 people attending and, as in the past, children will receive free bicycle helmets that firefighters with the Baldwin City and Lawrence fire departments will fit for them.

Door prize winners will be announced every 15 minutes, and a bicycle will be given away every 30 minutes, Pahcoddy said.

The day will get started with the Baldwin City Recreation Commission’s annual 5k walk/run. The event will start at 8 a.m. in front of the Collins Center, Friend said.

The cost to enter is $10 for individual or $25 for family. Participants can sign up before the event at the BCRC office, 705 High St., or Saturday morning at the Collins Center, he said. Those entering will receive a T-shirt.