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Artesians will be able to enjoy a day of fun and free health education downtown Saturday as the Artesia Arts Council, Artesia MainStreet, Artesia Arts & Cultural District, and Plan-It Productions present the Second Annual Artesia’s Booming Health & Business Expo, sponsored by Artesia General Hospital.

The event will run from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the downtown district and feature a variety of free events, as well as shopping deals and special vendors inside many local businesses.
The Expo also has a 1950s theme, so attendees are encouraged to dress accordingly.

“It’s a free event for everyone, and a family-friendly event,” said Laurie Schotz, executive director of the Artesia Arts Council.

A petting zoo will be held from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the parking lot of First American Bank, with free popcorn and a free hot dog lunch. The lunch will be served up by the Artesia High School Bulldog and Lady Bulldog basketball teams and is provided by Navajo Refining/HollyFrontier.

The hoops teams will also be selling raffle tickets for their annual vehicle raffle at the event.

Also on hand at the petting zoo will be the Artesia Public Library conducting Animal StoryTime, and Starvin Marvin’s food truck will be downtown, as well, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, inside the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center, which will serve as the hub for the event, local singer Tayler Gothard will return from college to perform the National Anthem to open the day’s festivities.

The theatre will feature games and entertainment throughout the day, many with a ‘50s theme, including hula hoop and twist competitions. Six members of the AHS band will be on hand to provide music, and John Smith will be speaking on the John Maxwell technique of goal-setting and living intentionally.

Chefs from AGH will give demonstrations of healthy cooking, along with samples, and other health professionals will also be speaking inside the OPAC.

“We have several doctors,” said Elisabeth Jackson, executive director of Artesia MainStreet. “One will be speaking on wound care, and we’ll have the CEO of Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and another physician from that center talking about updates with their cancer center and the research they’re doing there, along with several other speakers throughout the day.”

Blood pressure and blood sugar checks will be available in the OPAC, and Paws & Claws will have animals in Heritage Walkway, or inside the OPAC if the weather becomes inclement.

“If anyone sees an animal they like, you can adopt it right on the spot,” said Schotz.

Meanwhile, downtown businesses will be open and offering specials while also hosting vendors, many of whom will be providing information or offering products related to health.

“Altrusa will be selling knives, but we also have health-related businesses and nonprofits with informational booths,” Jackson said. “There will also be all kinds of sales for Saturday only, so make sure that you come down and shop, check out the entertainment, and see the speakers.

“There’s stuff to do for everybody.”

Participants will be given a punch card, and once they’ve paid a visit to 15 vendors – merchants are included as vendors – they can enter the card in drawings for door prizes that will be awarded throughout the day. Special raffle prizes will also be available during each of the educational presentations inside the OPAC. Those attending can purchase tickets at that presentation, and the prize will be drawn at its conclusion.

Also downtown Saturday, the Friends of the Library will be holding its winter used book sale from 9:30 a.m. – noon at the Artesia Public Library.

“It’s going to be a full day of activities and education, and it should be a lot of fun,” said Schotz.