Fairview Lutheran Foundation reaches out
to community with WestFest celebration

(Plain Press, November 2005) On Saturday October 1st thousands of people filled the grounds and facility of Zone Recreation Center at W. 65th and Lorain Avenue to participate in the first ever WestFest. The Fairview Lutheran Foundation-sponsored WestFest offered continuous entertainment on both Main Stage and Kid’s Stage.

 Musical groups and dancers performed on the hour or half-hour from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The program began with a Native American traditional dance in the morning, and ended with a blues group in the evening. Performers represented a variety of the cultural groups in the Greater Cleveland area. Dancers performed traditional dances from East India, Romania, the Ukraine and Puerto Rico. Music included ethnic cultural music, rock, Latin jazz, country, and reggae.

 The Kids Stage featured the St. Ignatius High School jugglers, a martial arts demonstration, tumbling demonstration, hip-hop dance instruction, and bicycle safety instruction. Children also had an opportunity to participate in Latino traditional dance.

 Children gathered at Cleveland Public Theatre’s booth to help design a set for a production of The Three Little Pigs, performed in the afternoon. Other children had their faces painted, worked to make a mask, or participated in various other arts and crafts.

 Clevelanders in Motion organized a Hoop-Making clinic where individuals could make their own hula-hoop. A number of sports clinics were also being offered, including a basketball clinic and a golf clinic.

 Clevelanders in Motion worked with WestFest to recruit a number of organizations that promote an active, healthy lifestyle. Barb Clint of Clevelanders in Motion, who served on the steering committee for WestFest, said she helped recruit organizations such as the Urban Gardening Program of the Ohio State University Extension Service, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park System, the Cleveland Hiking Club, the Cleveland Bicycle Federation and the Ohio City Bicycle Coop. Such organizations had booths with information on their programs.

 WestFest-goers could get free individual body composition analyses that calculated percentages of body fat, lean weight and water in the body, plus advice as to what this meant for their overall health and how they could improve their health with nutrition and increased physical activity. The Hospital Committee of WestFest, consisting of representatives from Fairview, Lutheran and Lakewood Hospitals, organized a wide variety of health screenings that were available free of charge inside of Zone Recreation Center during the festival. Many people took advantage of these services.

 The Regional Transit Authority and EcoVillage staff also participated in the festivities, offering those coming by rapid to the WestFest information on the EcoVillage, the EcoVillage Transit station and the use of passive solar lighting to enhance the station.

 The WestFest Food Village featured a variety of ethnic foods including Chinese, Eastern Indian, German, Greek, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Polish, Puerto Rican, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. Other treats available included ice cream, lemonade and kettle korn.

 West Side community development corporations, which helped in promoting WestFest, also set up information booths to showcase the neighborhoods they represented. Citywide groups, various government offices and a number of social service agencies also provided informational brochures.

 The WestFest Artist and Antique Village offered a wide variety of arts, crafts and antiques for sale and viewing. Artists from all over the Greater Cleveland area showcased their work.

 WestFest Steering Committee member Mike Hudek, the former director of the West Side YMCA, said he hoped this WestFest will be the first of many. Hudek said be became involved in the planning of WestFest while at the West Side YMCA before it closed. He said Fairview Lutheran Foundation was looking for ways to get more involved in the community. The idea for WestFest was born out of discussions on how to increase the foundation’s involvement in the community, said Hudek.


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