CRANBURY – Township officials and organizations are hoping to encourage community members to live a healthier lifestyle during two-days of activities next week.

Though there is no joint official name for the May 17 and May 18 events, the health activities are purposely being held on back-to-back days. The health focus kicks off May 17 with the “Walk to School with the Mayor, Police Chief and Principal.” The May 18 main event is the Health and Wellness Fair formally the Drug Free Fair.

“We wanted to broaden our focus,” said Joann Charwin, a key organizer of the event and a member of the Cranbury Municipal Alliance, which organizes the fair. “We want to teach about healthy habits, healthy eating, and physical activities. We are trying to encourage people to have a healthier lifestyle.”

Prior to the renaming and refocusing, the Drug Free Fair happened for 28 years.

“We’ve changed it to the Health and Wellness Fair because we’ve looked at where we are as a society and decided there so much more,” said Mayor James Taylor. “Getting kids away from their iPads, off the computers and outside and looking at adults and how do we eat and how do we take care of ourselves, with mental health issues, [the question is] how are we helping people?”

The walk to school will include Taylor, Chief Ricky Varga and Superintendent Susan Genco. The three will lead students and community members from the Main Street firehouse at 8 a.m. to the school. 

“We’re hopefully showing people that we can walk [to school] and save in terms of pollution and not drive to school,” Taylor said. “But [also] show the kids that walking to school is good for your heal and good for the environment."

The Cranbury Municipal Alliance wellness fair is from noon to 3 p.m. on May 18 at the Cranbury School, 23 North Main St.

“It really, really does encompass everything from about healthy living [and] healthy environment,” Taylor said.

The family-friendly event starts with the colorful fun run, Charwin said, who is a guidance counselor at the school. During the 1-mile run, Charwin said, the participants will find colorful items on the course.

After the run, attendees have more than 40 activities and vendors they can visit, such as the WOW Truck, a master gardener, farmers’ stations, bird walk, face painting, blood pressure check, learn about fire safety, drumming circle, drug awareness and an inflatable rock climbing wall and slide, among others.

“Everyone is really excited about [the health and wellness fair],” she said. “We have so many people from the community participating in different ways.”

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Christopher Lang is a freelance correspondent for MonroeNow. Previously he was part of The Record-USA Today Network and served as an editor for a decade at NJMG.

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