(Photo by Randy M. Cauthron) [Order this photo]
Author Dan Buettner will be in town, musician Chad Elliott is returning to perform at the celebration, and local organizers are excited to introduce Spencer to the concept of living a higher quality life at a kick-off event at the Clay County Regional Events Center tonight.
"Making the healthy choice the easy choice" will be among the many focal points of the public celebration which will incorporate live music from Elliott and the Spencer High School choir, fun for the kids, and information for the adults beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Buettner, who authored the book and introduced the world to the concept of "Blue Zones," will be on hand to share his insights and what he learned as he traveled the world studying the habits of people who live long and healthy lives.
"It will be a celebration for our community, and an opportunity to build excitement and awareness about how people can get involved and put well-being into action," Alison Simpson, community program manager with the Spencer Blue Zones Demonstration Site, said.
Approximately 30 representatives from Spencer traveled to Des Moines on May 4 to celebrate Spencer being named one of Iowa's four Blue Zones Demonstration Sites. The other three locations chosen were Cedar Falls, Mason City and Waterloo.
"Since being designated in May, Spencer has been hard at work to gather input from the residents of the community about how to proceed," Simpson said. "'The Blueprint,' Spencer's specific plan to guide the Blue Zones Project, was drafted from the input received over the past several months. Committees have been formed to focus on different areas of the community and to determine what can be done to increase well-being. Opportunities will truly start to take center stage following the launch, and it will definitely give individuals in the community a chance to get involved and really start working toward the end result of living better today."
Visits from Blue Zones coordinators, commitment from the city, and the designation of multiple Blue Zones work sites - Spencer Hospital, The Farmers Bank, Fareway, Hy-Vee, the Spencer Family Y and Spencer Municipal Utilities - have led to tonight's long-anticipated public celebration.
Cammi Hinkeldey, who worked side-by-side with Simpson, to help lead the initial effort to earn the Demonstration Site selection, knew Spencer would come through and this day would come.
"... I was confident that spencer residents and businesses would see the positive impact that bringing the Blue Zones principles to Spencer would make on our citizens and they would support our efforts. We knew it would be a lot of work, but also knew we had the support to make it all happen," Hinkeldey said.
Dan Burden, a national expert on livable and sustainable communities, will spend the morning with members of the community, performing a walking audit of Spencer.
"The walking audit will provide insight and gather community input to shape a prioritized list of livability improvements specifically for Spencer," Simpson explained.
Door prizes and giveaways will be part of the evening's planned activities at the free public event.
For more information email BlueZonesProjectSpencer@Healthways.com or call 262-8950.