2019 Living Well Festival celebrates health and wellness in Wilmot

Begins Thursday, April 25, at Angie's in St. Agatha

The goal of the 12th annual Living Well Festival, hosted by volunteer group Healthy Wilmot, is to celebrate health and wellness in the township. The three-day event begins Thursday, April 25, with a free Coffee House concert at Angie's Kitchen in St. Agatha.

This showcase for local talent begins at 7 p.m. Artists who are scheduled to appear include Dee Wiebe and Brant Grozelle, Al Junker, Angie Koch and Darrel Roes, and Ella Nafziger. Jazz musician Tim Louis, who is one of this year's sponsors, will also perform, as will the concert's organizer, John Wiebe. This is the second year for the Coffee House at Angie's, following 2018's popular inaugural concert. There will be free coffee and a cash bar, and Angie's Late Night Menu will be available.

The incredibly popular free roller skating returns to the Wilmot Recreation Complex on Friday, April 26. For the first time, Healthy Wilmot is splitting the event into two sessions. Families and youth (under-16s) can skate from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All kids must bring and wear a helmet — such as a bike helmet — while skating. Adults (16 and over) will take over from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Skate rental is free to everyone.

While the skating takes place on the rink, Grade 12 students from Waterloo-Oxford will be displaying some of their course work in an art exhibition in the WRC foyer. Among the projects on show will be Tables For Terry, a fundraiser for the Wilmot Terry Fox Run. Eight tables, donated by The Old Country Restaurant, were decorated by students and will be auctioned online after the exhibition.

The Community Corner and Market takes place at the WRC on Saturday, April 27. This year's theme is "Taking care of your mind." The event is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with various community groups and vendors highlighting their health-related work. There will be a Mindfulness Room on the second floor, and exhibitors will explain how mild forms of physical activity can help achieve mindfulness. Other events include free drop-in sessions with New Hamburg Karate Club and Bloom Yoga. An activities corner for children will be on the second floor in the morning.

The festival will end with a free barbecue lunch, sponsored and served by the Township of Wilmot council at noon.

Dorothy Wilson is the Healthy Wilmot secretary, and she will also be exhibiting with Nith Valley Ecoboosters in the Community Corner. She says: "I hope that the festival will provide an opportunity for people to gain an appreciation of how important it is to look after their mental health. I also hope they leave armed with knowledge about strategies and resources they can access to maximize their health."

Healthy Wilmot president Cheryl Gordijk adds, "This year's theme of 'Mindfulness' is in connection with our festival partner, Interfaith Community Counselling," which holds its silent auction at the same time in the WRC. "Our lives are filled with social activities, work, family, school, and sometimes we lose focus, which can lead to feelings of stress. Healthy Wilmot hopes visitors can take time to visit our community outreach exhibitors and learn how to bring mindfulness into their everyday lives."