Many aspects of health and wellness were represented at last Sunday’s first annual “Health, Wellness & Fitness Fair” by the Malibu Chamber of Commerce. The event, which was free to the public and sponsored by Los Robles and West Hills hospitals, featured more than two dozen health-related small businesses, offering everything from dental services to yoga to family counseling.
“We brought together health, fitness and wellness professionals to reach out to the community and share their healing arts,” Barbara Bruderlin, head of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, said. “We had live demonstrations on stage, including Fire Station 88, McCormick Ambulance and the Red Cross teaching the latest in safety; the senior dancers in their Scottish costumes; and even a healthy cooking demonstration.”
Bruderlin explained that the fair—or “expo”—was to “help all the small businesses in town get to know the public, and for the public to get to know them.” She said so many small health and wellness businesses had inquired about having a venue to showcase their services over the past year or so, that the idea for a health fair was born.
While attendance at the fair was a little disappointing, Bruderlin said it was only the first year. In addition, she noted, “I don’t think people are used to seeing events at the Colony Plaza.”
One of the small businesses at the fair, who asked not to be named, suggested that attendance might have been greater if the event could have been situated next to the weekly farmers market, which was happening at the same time.
The Malibu Times interviewed one of the fair’s attendees, Jesse Lin of Brentwood, who said she just happened to see the event as she was driving by.
“It’s so cool and interesting,” she said. “It was cool to try a probiotic and learn what Ayurvedic is. I plan to visit every booth.”
Lois Leonhardi, an independent yoga and Ayurveda practitioner, had a booth at the fair to advertise her custom-designed diet and exercise programs. She said she already had clients in Malibu and makes house calls. She has written her own cookbook, “The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook.”
Mind-body therapist Leslie Skoloff explained that she does “energy work and readings” to help emotional and physical problems, and has clients in Malibu that she keeps in touch with via phone and video.
Sarah Cho of the “Farm Fresh Organic Produce to You” booth said her company partners with more than 20 local farms to send boxes of fresh produce to customers for $33 per box.
Perhaps the most popular booth at the fair, attracting the biggest crowd, was Malibu’s 99 High Tide Collective, a local medical marijuana dispensary.
A Ph.D. in physical therapy, Erin Carr of Santa Monica, operates a well-known physical therapy clinic using Eastern, Western and European approaches. While helping patients with all kinds of injuries and pain, she has a unique side specialty of helping orchestral musicians.
“We talked to about 30 people today,” Carr said. “It was fun and a good start. They’re trying to do something new here, and the community is coming together.”
The “Roots & Wings Holistic Wellness & Art Center” group, based in Malibu and headed by Dr. Jennifer Jones, was also busy explaining its various services to the community, including coaching and short-term therapy. The nonprofit just opened its offices two months ago in the Malibu Lumber Yard building. They’re partners with SMMUSD and the Boys & Girls Club, and all profits from counseling go to support free parent and teacher education and workshops, and counseling for Malibu students.
Other sponsors of the event included Pepperdine University, Wells Fargo, California Wellness Institute and Malibu Hardware & Supply. The event was held in the parking lot at the far end of the Ralphs shopping center (Malibu Colony Plaza).