While a trip to the doctors office or dentist is not always a fun thing to do, North Shore Health Centers hosted an event to show families that they can still have fun while learning about and caring about their health.
"This week is National Health Center week, so what we wanted to do to celebrate is have a patient appreciation fun fair," said Tricia Hall, director of marketing and patient relations.
While the entire week was filled with different activities at Northshore's different locations,Thursday's event was a family oriented fun fair. Earlier in the week, different kinds of free screenings were done.
A number of community agencies were in attendance and had their own table set up. Some of these agencies included Indiana Parenting Institute, which taught parenting skills, Indiana Minority Health Coalition, which helped inform people about breast cancer awareness, Northshore Dental, which did dental screenings, and Healthy Start, who helps teen moms by educating them and giving them the chance to participate in a prenatal program.
In order to have a booth at the event, agencies had to fill out registration info sent out by Northshore.
At the Fun Fair event, families had the chance to participate in numerous activities. There were two bounce houses for kids to jump around in, a temporary tattoo booth, food and drinks, and other small games set up in booths. Everything at the event was free, and anyone was welcome to come out and enjoy themselves.
Rusty the Railcat, the Gary SouthShore Railcats' mascot, made a guest appearance, and posed with kids for pictures throughout the event.
The fire department was also there, along with one of the firetrucks.
"The firemen will let the kids get on the firetruck and give them education about how to be safe around a fire,"Gervay Dickerson, community outreach manager said.
Popcorn was provided by three movie theaters around the area, the Portage 16 IMAX,and the Scherillville and Merrillville AMC locations. Drinks were given by McDonald's. Hot dogs were also made by "The Hot Dog Guy," Mike Adams of Crown Point, for the kids to snack on.
Aside from games, raffles were done at some of the booths to give the adults something fun to participate in. Northshore raffled off a family fun basket, a Strack & Van Til raffled gift card and a $50 VISA gift card were among items raffled off.
Free chair massages were given to those 18 and older by Accord Chirpractic, which has done so throughout the entire week.
A table was set up with donated clothes for participants to go through and select whatever they might need. Clothes at the booth were donated by Portage Christian Church and Northshore.
While this was not the first year that National Health Center week was celebrated, it was the first year it was celebrated like this.
"This is the first time it's been done in this way, where its truly family focused," Dickerson said. "I know last year we did things every day, but we didn't have this big thing for the families. I think the big idea is that everything is free,and you can bring your family no matter how many kids."