Many things on tap for third annual event
NEW MADRID - When something works you stick with it, reasons the New Madrid County Health Department.
When it started its Supermarket Festival, staff members were looking for a way to make learning about eating right a fun experience for residents.
After hundreds of people showed up at the event's debut, the health department knew it was on the right track.
The third annual event, set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 15 at Dave's Bestway, 421 Line St., has a variety of things planned for those who attend.
Participants will receive recipes, informational hand-outs, cooking tips, kitchen gadgets and a chance to take home $100 worth of groceries among other things.
To qualify for the groceries, individuals simply need pick up a card at the festival, visit all three booths, listen to the information being discussed and have the card stamped. This will enter them in the drawing.
Also, those in attendance will learn more about eating right through the health department's Eat for Health messages which are to Grab More Grains, Eat 5 (fruits and vegetables) A Day and Bake, Broil and Boil (when cooking meats).
Sherry Aden believes the festival's success can be attributed to a number of things, including the location and the support and enthusiasm of the grocery store owners and managers.
"All of them have gone above and beyond to meet our needs and make the festival a positive experience for the shoppers," noted Aden, a licensed and registered dietitian at the New Madrid County Health Department.
She also said it has a lot to do with the support from New Madrid County residents who attend the festival and the New Madrid Coalition whose members help with the event.
"The support and publicity provided by the local media by getting the messages out there year round and providing the who, what, when and where helps tremendously," Aden added. "Last year saw over 200 people show up, some even took their lunch hour to spend time visiting the tables."
What Aden and other staff members want residents to get out of the festival is knowing that incorporating a nutritious diet into today's busy lifestyle is simple and tastes good.
Although the lower income population of New Madrid County are the ones the health department is specifically targeting, staff members say everyone in the county can be assured they will find the festival both informative and fun.
"Most people are doing something right, they're baking and broiling occasionally," Aden said. "If they can make that the majority of the way they cook and fry occasionally they have made a huge step toward improving their diet."
And diet, emphasized Aden, doesn't have to be a dreaded word. She explained it refers to the food eaten, not necessarily a way to lose weight. She pointed out that adding fruits and vegetables into a diet to obtain the five needed servings a day may be easier once it's realized what a serving is.
"That's just one of the things we'll talk about at the festival," she said. "People attending can expect an exciting buzz in the store. Those of us who choose nutrition as our career are passionate about it and want to share all our good information with you. We will have recipes, tastings of new recipes this year and other nutrition information."
Aden will also be on hand to answer medical questions about nutrition.
"The event is fun," she said. "It takes what can be a mundane Monday shopping and turns it into a change to see, taste and smell what's cooking in New Madrid County."