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Health event returns for fourth installment

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Lorri Essary said Open Streets OKC gets residents active, healthy and engaged in their community. The event is Sunday.
  • Lorri Essary said Open Streets OKC gets residents active, healthy and engaged in their community. The event is Sunday.

Going into the fourth installment of Open Streets OKC, event organizers surveyed families about their experience following last fall’s event in south Oklahoma City.

On surveys passed out to the 4,500-person crowd, 60 percent of respondents said without Open Streets, they wouldn’t have engaged in physical activity on that sunny and breezy October afternoon.

“That’s a significant number of people who got out and moved,” said Lorri Essary, manager of operations for community health at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. “You have individuals discovering their community, getting active and having family time. This is a wonderful event.”

Open Streets returns to Uptown 23rd District noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

While Open Streets holds a block-party vibe and appeals to all ages, it’s not a typical street festival. Event organizers want people to walk, bike, skate or board through the closed streets on NW 23rd Street between N. Western and N. Robinson avenues and N. Walker Avenue up to the Paseo Arts District. Festivalgoers will encounter countless organizations, businesses and groups promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyles, balanced eating and health care options.

“We are closing streets so people can get out and get active,” Essary said. “Sometimes, with the structure of our city, it can be tough to get out and walk. This is an opportunity in a safe environment for getting out and getting active. Along the way, there are so many organizations highlighting health components.”

Participants can expect to cross paths with organizations such as Latino Community Development Agency, Riversport Adventures, The Lynn Health Science Institute, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Spokies, American Lung Association, Anytime Fitness and Embark. Staff from OU Medical Center will offer free health screenings.

A majority of the booths offer people the chance to participate in a physical activity, such as pedal a bike, jump rope, show a dance move or kick a soccer ball. Healthy lifestyle tips are easy to come by, and an array of classes take place on the street. An entertainment element is available as Out of the Box from Arts Council Oklahoma City brings eight live acts to the streets. Additionally, participants will find parklets scattered along Open Streets’ route, a stilt walker and longboarding seminars. Tucker’s Onion Burgers’ parking lot transforms into a toddler obstacle course.

With a goal of keeping the event fresh and exciting each time, event organizers expanded the route to the Paseo Arts District, giving local shops, art galleries and restaurants a chance to participant. For those on two wheels, the bike lane from NW 30th Street and Shartel Avenue will be blocked off to NW 50th Street, encouraging more riders from area neighborhoods to bike to the event.

Merchants and restaurants located in the Paseo and Uptown 23rd districts expect an increase in foot traffic Sunday. Additionally, food trucks parked along the Open Streets route will provide at least one healthy option on their menus.

Print headline: Street time, Open Streets OKC returns to Uptown 23rd District Sunday as it expands into Paseo Arts District.

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