Paula Mitchell

Paula Mitchell

 

KINGSTON–It was like one giant Zumba party along the waterfront.

The seventh annual Let’s Move! Ulster Health Fair and Celebration brought hundreds to T.R. Gallo Park in an evening of fierce aerobics led by the troupe from the Center for Creative Education.

The third annual Diversity Parade heads down Broadway in Kingston on Wednesday evening. Photo by Paula Mitchell.

The event, organized by Bryant “Drew” Andrews, followed the city’s third annual Diversity Parade down Broadway. More than 50 units, including 15 school groups, participated.

Andrews, the artistic and wellness director at CCE, said the parade and group fitness were meant to bring the community together in a time of high tensions and general unrest.

“There’s so many things that are tearing us apart,” he said. “These events focus on everyone. It’s something that can bring respect and bring us together to celebrate differences and better understand differences and to walk and talk together.

“Both events are inter-generational and welcoming and open to all people, regardless of who you are. We care about us as a human race and bringing us all together.”

The flash mob dance included young children, teenagers, their parents and grandparents–many throwing their hands in the air and gyrating to upbeat music.

The Diversity Parade featured 50 units, including 15 school groups. Photo by Paula Mitchell.

Other dance companies also performed, and fitness demonstrations including yoga, Tai Chi and Zumba were featured on a stage along the Rondout Creek.

In addition, the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK) and the Energy Dance Company showed their stuff.

Andrews said the event was modeled after former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! public health campaign. The thrust behind the local fitness event is to fight local childhood obesity and physically engage young people and adults.

“We used that to bring the community together and develop a healthier mindset,” Andrews said.

He opted to hold it on a Wednesday evening because residents tend to stay put during the work week. Having it on the first day of summer also is a good way to get everyone revved up for the hot days ahead, Andrews said.

“To us, it’s been a lucky day. When we had it on the weekend, it wasn’t well-attended. We have it at the end of the school year, so it’s almost a last-day celebration with fun, food, music and community. You can’t go wrong.”

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