Perris officials knew they had a tough act to follow after the success of the community’s first health-fair in 2013, which kicked off the City’s continuing “Live Well Perris” healthy-eating active-living lifestyle initiative.
By all accounts, the second health fair April 26 met and surpassed those exacting standards.
“No doubt at all, we topped ourselves again,” Perris Mayor Daryl Busch said at the conclusion of the April 26 health fair. “It’s a great day for a great event. I am proud of all the people who came out to learn how to improve their health. A healthy community is a happy community.”
Busch and fellow elected officials thanked the several major sponsors who made the April 26 health fair an unqualified success, including Cardenas markets, First 5 Riverside (an agency aimed at supporting children under the age of 5), Citizens Bank and Tri-Lake Consultants.
A crowd estimated at 2,000 took part in the health fair at the City Hall Campus. Busch and members of the City Council raffled off more than 200 prizes, including 60 bicycles. Dozens of other prizes included blenders and juicers to create healthy meals and snacks, sporting equipment, tickets to batting cages, the Perris Valley skydiving center, the Perris Auto Speedway, the new aquatics center and gift cards. The City, thanks to sponsors who supported the health fair, enjoyed such a bounty of prizes that for most of the last hour of the event, elected officials called off raffle winners to come to the stage and collect their prizes.
The winners in the City’s “Biggest Loser Perris” weight-reduction contest took home tickets to Disneyland.
The second and third-place finishers received new bicycles and gift cards.
Throughout the day, hundreds of residents received free health checks from volunteers who tested for high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Visitors were encouraged to “rethink your drink” and consume fruit-flavored water instead of sugary soft drinks. A local farmer offered fruits, vegetables, honey and jams—all produced near the Perris Valley. A chef employed by the City instructed people how to prepare healthy snacks. A stream of aerobic exercises, dances and martial artists demonstrated calorie-burning maneuvers on the City Hall lawns.
Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Rita Rogers thanked residents who have taken to heart the City’s health initiative by eating better and exercising.
“Those of you who are living a healthy lifestyle please continue to do so,” Rogers said. “Optimum health means a healthy City and a healthy community.”
Perris City Councilman Al Landers said he was more than pleased with the overwhelming turnout, which included children, parents and grandparents who represented the “whole fabric of Perris.”
“It is really heartwarming,” he said. “This is the result when you have a united City that cares about each other.”
Perris City Councilman Julio Rodriguez said he was “incredibly thankful” to the City staff for organizing the 2014 health fair, nothing that “last year’s was a big success, this year’s will be even better.”
“We are starting to see people making healthier choices in their daily lives,” he said. “We are seeing results.”
Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough said the wide range of services provided at the health fair exemplified the “true meaning of a community event.”
“There is something for everyone here,” he said. “This is the kind of event that makes Perris unique.”
Dr. Timothy Watson, a pediatrician who conducted health screenings in the Bob Glass Gym, said that Perris “is doing what is necessary to benefit the health of children.” Watson conducted blood-pressure checks, took vital signs and used displays to show the levels of salt and sugar in foods. He also handed out bicycle helmets and balloons.
“This is one of the best health decisions a city has made in a long time and it’s one I support 100 percent,” Watson said.
Perris resident Caroline Fenn was a regular at weekly workouts sponsored by the City over the last several months. She said she enjoyed the workout, learned more about the limits her body can stand and credited the City of Perris for making her more health conscious.
“The workouts showed me the maximum my body can do,” Fenn said. “They helped me push myself. I am so proud of the City for putting so much effort into the Live Well Perris health initiative.”
Perris residents John Delgadillo and Annette Rodriguez shed the most weight in the biggest loser contest, which drew more than 600 competitors in 2014, more than triple the number last year. Delgadillo, 30, lost 30 pounds during the three-month competition. Rodriguez, 26, did better, dropped 40 pounds. They each won tickets to Disneyland.
Delgadillo said he worked out regularly at the gym, hitting the treadmill, stationary bike and lifting weights. He gave up fast food and soda for chicken, fish, oranges and bananas.
“I feel great,” he said. “I’m at my high-school weight.”
His waist dropped from 34-inches to 30. He’s had to buy new clothing. He said the biggest loser contest motivated him to get off the couch, work out and make smarter food choices.
“It was now or never,” Delgadillo said. “I’m proud of the City for wanting to help their residents get fit. I am going to maintain this momentum and keep this weight off.”
Rodriguez voiced similar sentiments. She took up step aerobics, worked out on elliptical machines and rode the stationary bicycle to burn calories. Out went the junk food, replaced by fruits and vegetables. Her stamina has improved, she feels energized, less tired.
“I worked hard and I feel great,” she said. “I thank the City for motivating me to lose their weight. I have not come this far to give it all back by regaining the weight.”
Second-place winners Christopher Wilson and Sylvia Delgadillo each received new bicycles. Third-place winners Juan Salas and Dana Berry each took home $50 gift cards.
Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, a lifelong Perris Valley resident, stopped by the health fair and delivered his own shout-out to the crowd for becoming more aware of the importance of exercising and eating healthy.
“You are here because you’re interested in your health and the health of your children,” Ashley said. “Live Well Perris is a great and wonderful event. Keep up what you’re doing. You’ll live longer and better lives.”