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Educators pack the halls of M-State for Festival of Health

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Mid-Minnesota Tae Kwon Do performed in the cafeteria area during the February Festival of Health. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal2 / 5
Doug Curtis draws caricatures Saturday during the Festival of Health. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal3 / 5
The Festival of Health provided a wide range of activities and informational booths. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal4 / 5
Many M-State students could be seen volunteering during the Festival of Health event Saturday. Michael Denny/Wadena Pioneer Journal5 / 5

The February Festival of Health is an annual event held in the halls of M-State. It's an opportunity for local medical, safety, and better living professionals to reach out to the community.

The event goes beyond the simple pamphlets and tag board presentations. Many professionals at the festival are taking this chance to lend their skills to curious individuals interested in improving their quality of life.

The festival is like a circus of healthy living. Crowds of people made there way down the halls with swag bags, collecting pens, pill boxes, and widgets. People feverishly practiced CPR while only a few feet away water was being tested for nitrates. Tae Kwon Do in the cafeteria, blood glucose testing, and massage therapy, the event is truly a wave of constructive information.

Amy Kern, Community Engagement Specialist for Tri-County Healthcare, spoke to the festivals effectiveness.

"I love seeing the community come out for education," said Kern.

The festival has an emphasis on overall health so it's not just directly medically related information. The festival does have a great deal of booths devoted to a better understanding of diabetes or donating blood but other booths were devoted to safety and the environment. "Everyone has a different aspect for why it's good to take care of your own health," Kern said.

Some Place Safe helps victims of domestic violence. SPF provides monetary donations, temporary housing, and general assistance for anyone suffering from domestic violence, sexual assault and exploitation. Arielle Matti, an M-State nursing student, was managing the table while crowds of people passed by. According to Matti, at only an hour into the festival her table had presented for 15 people. Important services like this one filled may spots at the festival.

Another important service offered is water testing. Assistant Manager at the Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District, Anne Oldakowski, was busy operating a spectrometer for the locals of Wadena. Water testing is a crucial component of ensuring that drinking water is safe for consumption. Water testing primarily tests for nitrates. Increased nitrates in drinking water can be bad for infants and people with compromised immune systems. Nitrate levels should be under ten parts per million. Oldakowski recommends bringing a water sample to their organization for testing. The water sample is put through the spectrometer, which filters light through the sample. This process detects the content of the sample.

Outside the educational booths, the festival provided entertainment in the cafeteria sitting area. Mid-Minnesota Tae Kwon Do demonstrated self defense techniques and various throws, counters and kicks. There was also dancing by Just for Kix and caricatures by Doug Curtis.

The event went from 9 a.m. to noon and hosted 65 educational booths. The event has been going for several years. Dozens of people took to the halls of M-State with a desire for better living, those people left with information on how to improve everyday life, and maybe a couple pieces of candy.