Venue: Minneapolis Convention Center
Attendees: 6,000 trade union members and their families
Entertainment: Ron Schara, Mark Kruger
Catering: Kelber Catering
Graphics: Big Ink, Seven Corners Printing, Cooperative Printing
Event planner: Stacy Bee, president of Esbee Public Relations and Marketing
Health care fund administrators at several local trade unions wanted to promote healthy choices among their members and lower health care costs, so they called on Minneapolis-based Esbee Public Relations and Marketing to put together an event that would educate, entertain, and even provide screening for health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Esbee met with union health plan administrators and Medica, a health insurance company based in Minnetonka and sponsor for the event, to choose what to focus on at the fair. “We picked topics based on where the health care costs are highest,” says Stacy Bee, Esbee’s president.
Union leaders were instrumental in promoting the health fair, and Esbee handled all of the marketing efforts. Union members received informational mailings and were directed to a Web site where they could sign up for health screenings and register to attend seminars on health topics during the event. Kids and families were encouraged to come and check out kid-friendly activities.
When attendees arrived, they received a “passport to health,” which was stamped for each booth, seminar, or presentation the person visited. Attendees with 10 stamps were eligible to win prizes including trips to Disney World and flat-screen TVs.
Seminars were held throughout the day with titles such as “Living with Shoulder Pain,” “Breast Cancer—Am I at Risk?,” and “It’s Not That You Can’t Touch Your Toes; It’s That You Won’t.” The sessions were led by experts in urology, cardiology, back pain, sleep, and neurological and orthopedic conditions from local hospitals, the University of Minnesota, and other local health organizations.
More than 750 people participated in health screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and other conditions, Bee says. U.S. Wellness, a biometric screening company, provided the clinic-like screening area and results for the tests.
A trade show area featured information on topics such as nutrition, stress, prescription drugs, and exercise. Several unions hosted hospitality suites with healthy refreshments, and food was available to purchase on the trade show floor.
The highlight for the kids was the interactive sportscaster experience provided by FSN Sports, where they could make a recording of themselves calling a game like a real sportscaster. The “sport court” allowed kids to shoot hoops. The tooth fairy, sponsored by Delta Dental, was on hand to pass out toothbrushes and tell kids about the proper way to brush their teeth. Mudonna the pig, the mascot of the St. Paul Saints, also made an appearance. Pheasants Forever, a habitat conservation organization, did two dog-training demonstrations and gave away South Dakota hunting packages.
For adults, outdoor television personality Ron Schara, in collaboration with Pheasants Forever, talked about how his passion for the outdoors keeps him healthy and active. Schara was also available for autographs, questions, and photos. Mark Kruger, from NBC’s The Biggest Loser, a weight-loss reality television show, talked about his health before and after the show, and his continued commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
The event was a hit and Esbee plans to produce more health fairs in the future. Bee notes that about 30 people were newly diagnosed with diabetes and can now act on that knowledge to improve their health.