WATERVILLE — Kelly Palmer and Michele Mailhot felt great after attending the World of Women’s Wellness event at Thomas College on Saturday.

They learned about their own health by undergoing free health screenings, got some tips for improvement, and took advantage of free spa treatments.

It was a girl’s day out for the best friends, who are both 45.

“It’s fun and educational. We’ve learned a lot,” said Palmer, of Sidney.

It was their first visit to the annual wellness fair, hosted by Inland Hospital. They were laughing and chatting as they awaited free hair and makeup services. They had enjoyed massages earlier in the day.

“We participated in all the screenings,” Palmer said. “I also found information for my sister who has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which will be very helpful.”

Both women also had free bone density tests and learned that they are in good health, in that regard.

“I was relieved and excited,” Mailhot, of Oakland, said. “It’s been a good day. I was worried, because I don’t do dairy. I drink soy milk and eat green, leafy vegetables.”

About 500 women from all over central Maine turned out for the 14th annual fair where more than 70 exhibitors offered information about everything from heart health to nutrition. Thirteen free health screenings were offered, including those for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, sleep, glaucoma, vision and pulmonary function.

Women were getting free facials and massages, asking questions of a panel of health professionals, learning line dancing and watching cooking demonstrations by Barrels Community Market manager David Gulak.

Gulak, who was attending the fair for the second year, said everyone was in a good mood and having fun. The Barrel’s booth offered samples of three-colored organic potato salad, which included blue potatoes, as well as a beet vinaigrette salad. Gulak said many people had not heard of Barrels, and the fair offered good exposure for the downtown market.

Sara Dyer, community relations director for Inland Hospital, said the fair was held at the hospital in its first year but grew so much it had to be moved. The event allows women who do not have access to health screenings to get it at the fair; they also have an opportunity to find ways to help improve their health, she said.

“Sometimes it’s little steps that you can take that make a big difference in your health — even if it’s switching to whole grain bread,” she said. “You can make simple, easy choices that can impact your health in a positive way.”

Many women are very busy with jobs and families and often do not take the time to take care of themselves, she said. The fair offers them many resources.

“You can come here and create a wellness plan,” she said. “This is Inland’s commitment to community health. It’s our biggest outreach event of the year.”

She said organizers do not allow anyone to sell or solicit anything at the fair, which ultimately is good public relations for businesses and services.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.