By Rebecca Canfield
Hundreds of Liberty Hill residents came out to attend the Liberty Fit Health, Wellness and Safety Fair Saturday.
The event, which began with a fun run for both children and parents, gave away “I Finished” T-shirts to the first 150 students across the finish line, said John Clark, chairman of the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC). Organizers ran out of shirts early on, however, Clark, who was pleased with the fantastic turnout, said they will be prepared for even bigger crowds next year.
Fifth grader Sean Parsons was the first student across the finish line in the event’s un-timed race. Parsons was beaten across the finish line by only one adult out of many who competed.
“What we’re looking to do is to bridge the gap between what the school does, the parents do, and the businesses do, and just bring it all together so that we can work as a team,” said Clark. “All these resources are right here in our backyard, and so we wanted to bring them together to promote health, wellness and safety for our kids.”
Clark also said there was a tremendous turnout of vendors, most of whom had fun activities for children to participate in at each booth. The Drug Enforcement Agency, for example, had all manner of police gear available for children to try on. Children even got a chance to play around with the officers’ handcuffs and got to arrest Jeff Brennecke, Task Force Officer for the DEA.
Title Boxing Club was also on hand to give kids a chance to try their hand at boxing with a pair of super-sized boxing gloves. Title Boxing Club’s J.P. Pormprasong gave some of the youngsters a mini boxing lesson, teaching them how to punch and block.
However other vendors, such as United Way of Williamson County, Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, and Dr. Ben Menke of Texas Physical Therapy Specialists were there to educate parents on various programs that are available for both parents and children as well as provide snack bars, bananas, and other healthy items.
Other groups, such as Digital IDs gave away free ID kits to parents, and taught them about the importance of updating a child’s digital ID regularly in case a child gets lost or has an emergency.
Some highlights of the day were the group performances, which included tumbling and stunting demonstrations courtesy of Courage Cheer & Dance.
Texas Black Belt Karate’s World Champion Third Degree Black Belt instructor Chad Cannon led a martial arts demonstration that included having students spar and break boards, after which Cannon kicked, flipped and karate chopped his way around the field in an aerial display of karate moves.
Road Side Cross Fit also put on two performances, allowing audiences to see what types of things kids would get to learn and experience in a typical cross fit class as well.
The day was also filled with many fun activities designed to get families up, moving, and exercising together. Some of the activities were hula hooping, tennis, tug-of-wars, jump roping, and bongo balls. Students also played basket ball, practiced using balance sticks, and got a chance to both jump around in bounce houses and make their way through bounce house obstacles as well.
“I liked pulling the teeth out of that thing,” said 10-year-old Lily Jameyson of a local dentist office’s booth.
Parents repeatedly referred to the day’s events as “awesome”, and said that it was a fun way to get the kids up and out of the house. Many parents stated that they hoped that Fit Fest would become an annual event so they could come back next year.
“We’re really pleased to be out here to support the community and to help foster a health lifestyle,” said Anthony Buck, Cross Tracks Run Club coach and LHISD School Trustee. Buck, whose run club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Lions Foundation Park, said that the event was a great way to let community members know about fitness opportunities within Liberty Hill and to increase health awareness.
Clark said his favorite event of the day, by far, was the fun run.
“I loved the fun run. We had a much greater turnout for the fun run than what I anticipated,” said Clark. “I am really excited that so many parents came out so early just to do that. This is really our first outdoor event that we have done, and I’m just so pleased with the turnout from both vendors and from the community.”