Aug. 15: We Are One Fest organizers switch it up and get back to basics with Health Fair at Veterans Park

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MANCHESTER, NH – When life gives you a lemon of an international pandemic, you make a health fair.

That was the best way forward for this year’s We Are One Health Fair, which will celebrate its 20th year of gathering to celebrate the city’s diversity at Veterans Park as usual, but with a different vibe.

“We really didn’t know what was going to happen with COVID, so the planning committee held off until the last possible minute to see how things would shake out,” said Sudi Lett.

When it was apparent that bringing food and artisan vendors to the park was off the table, the committee decided to emphasize the importance of health and safety, particularly for New Hampshire’s Black, Hispanic and Latinx communities. According to data presented to the governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, New Hampshire reflects the national trend that shows COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting persons of color here as well.

Public health education and information has always been a part of the We Are One Festival, as seen here from the 2015 event. Courtesy Photo

Lett said We Are One organizers reached out to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to see if they would approve a health fair, which actually gets back to the roots of how the festival began in 2001, with a focus on community health.

As a result, the We Are One Health Fair will be held Aug. 15 at Veterans Park from 2 to 4 p.m. There will be a restriction of 100 people allowed in the park at any given time, but due to the size of the park, Lett says that will leave plenty of room for social distancing.

And while there won’t be the usual celebration of food, there will still be music and an opportunity for people to get the information they need.

“We’ll hand out copies of the state’s reopening plan for anyone who doesn’t have access to local news sources, and we’ll have PPE and masks, and we’re hoping to be able to hand out sanitizer, and just keep on educating the community about COVID-19,” Lett said.

Given the quick turn-around for the festival, Lett said they are putting out the call for anyone who wants to man a table and provide health-related information or services to connect with him right away by emailing, or by calling 603-657-4969.

Veterans Park is located at 889 Elm Street in downtown Manchester.

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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!