More than 1,000 neighbors hit the streets

A family strolls down the road, enjoying the beautiful weather at the event.

BELLEFONTE –The first annual Open Streets Bellefonte, held Saturday, May 18, in the center of the historic town, drew a crowd of more than a 1,000 people during the 4-hour event.

Powered by Mount Nittany Health, and made possible, in part, by a generous donation from Northwest Bank, Open Streets Bellefonte was the first event of its kind in the region, creating “paved parks” on parts of Allegheny and High streets, by temporarily closing them to motorized vehicle traffic and opening them to human traffic on foot, bike, roller skates and more. Open to all ages and fitness levels, a number of activity hubs focused on activities like dancing, yoga, aerobics, and hula hooping, and incorporated other wellness-themed activities like nutritional education, engaging individuals and families in healthy activities, while building community connections.

“Our roots are in this community, and so is our future,” shared Nichole Monica, director, community health and outreach, Mount Nittany Health. “Open Streets Bellefonte allows us to build on that commitment with an event that extends the advice of our doctors’ offices to the open streets of this beautiful community. When we had the opportunity to partner with Northwest Bank to open the streets to health for our Bellefonte neighbors, the collaboration just made good sense.”

The event received an outpouring of additional support from area sponsors, including Centre Foundation, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Nittany Valley, Centre Crest, Harmony of State College, The YMCA of Centre County, Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County and Centre Moves, among others. The fun-filled day included the highly-anticipated Ultimate Ninja Warrior Challenge, rodeo playground, oversized classic yard games, sidewalk chalk art, healthy snacks, hydration station, smoothie tasting and more.

“The initial idea for the event was inspired by seeing similar programs flourish in other communities, and it seemed a great fit for the scenic streets of our historic Bellefonte community and the healthy culture of community connectedness that already exists in this community,” said Monica.

Some of the more than 1,000 area residents who came out to enjoy the first annual Open Street Bellefonte healthy community event.

Chronic disease, including heart disease and diabetes, was identified as a key priority in the most recent community health needs assessment (CHNA), conducted by Mount Nittany Health, in partnership with Centre Foundation, Centre County United Way, and Centre County Government. Because heart disease is impacted by high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can result from poor diet and exercise habits, healthy weight management is key in improving the health and wellness of our community and Mount Nittany Health’s mission to make people healthier.

As a healthcare leader in the region, Mount Nittany Health was pleased to offer the event to promote healthier living for community members. The event was a perfect example of the health system’s commitment to the CHNA’s implementation plan as a health priority for the community.

“At Mount Nittany Health, our mission is to make people healthier, and this initiative reflects our continued commitment to go beyond responding to chronic disease to taking a preventative approach to healthcare in our community. Open Streets Bellefonte is an innovative and fun way to promote healthy behaviors in our communities,” Monica said.

To learn more about Mount Nittany Health, including ways to live a healthier lifestyle, visit mountnittany.org.

A local boy sketches a sun on the pavement, as other kids rest along the sidewalk behind him.

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