WATERVILLE — Hundreds of first-time visitors joined with several hundred more annual attendees at Inland Hospital’s 16th annual Word of Women’s Wellness event Saturday.

Sara Dyer, Inland’s director of community relations, said the event grows in popularity every year, and this year more than 500 attendees showed up.

The health fair, held at Thomas College, hosts free health screenings for women of the community and gathers area health care services and vendors under one roof.

Because all the organizations are brought together, she said, women can come with their friends and families and easily get information about multiple health issues in one afternoon.

“It’s a way for women to have fun and improve their health,” she said.

The more than 60 exhibitors who came to the event provided information and giveaways on topics ranging from healthy recipe ideas to domestic-violence victim support.

Along with the booths, there were demonstrations on a stage throughout the day on exercising and healthy eating. There was even Scarf Tying 101, a demonstration in which women learned different ways to fashion scarves.

Dyer said the free health screenings were meant to provide care to women who might not see a practitioner regularly or have health insurance.

The varioius free screenings included tests for blood glucose, bone density, glaucoma and vision.

Dorothy Dostie, who was there for the first time with her daughter, Peggy Pooler, 69, said she was surprised to see so many women at the event.

Pooler said they were having fun while making their way around the venue. The two had just gotten their blood pressure checked and were heading to look at other booths.

“It’s been very informative. We’ve been trying a little of everything,” Pooler said.

Faye Ferland, 77, of Waterville, said she was enjoying her first time at the health fair with her cousin Joyce Toman, 77, of Winslow. Each of them already had gathered a bagful giveaways and said they were happy to have a chance to spend the day together.

Ferland said she has been a volunteer at Inland Hospital for 10 years but had never been to the event before.

“People said ‘You’ve worked there for 10 years and you’ve never came? You have to go!'” she said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
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