SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Community Center was transferred into a petting zoo/playground/fairground Thursday afternoon for Sheridan Community Hospital’s annual Family Health Fair.
This year event featured live animals from Anderson & Girls Petting Zoo, lots of games, face painting, an obstacle course and much more. There also were plenty of activities and information available for adults.
Among the many free services being offered were cataract screenings, blood pressure checks, cholesterol checks, and healthy food samples.
According to Sheridan Community Hospital nurse Kim Christensen, who helped organize the event, the hospital has been offering the event for “as long as I can remember.” As a rule, Christensen said, the fair draws around 400 visitors each year.
“The hospital puts it on,” Christensen said. “But we invite many different organizations in the community that are in health-related fields. Almost every one of our volunteers are here.”
Christensen noted that this year was the first in many in which the weather was completely conducive to holding the kids activities outside. Some of those activities were strictly for fun; others had a more serious purpose.
And emergency medical services unit and fire truck were both on hand and kids were encouraged to familiarize themselves with them, inside and out.
Sheridan Hospital Community Relations Director Lois Westfall pointed out that all too often, a child’s first encounter with an ambulance or fire truck can be during an actual emergency, scary enough on its own without the added stress of being enclosed in a vehicle filled with unfamiliar equipment.
“The kids ask if they’re allowed to tour the EMS units,” Westfall said. “I tell them, ‘Yeah, get in there and check them out.’”