City ready to spread holiday cheer

Light Up Midtown returns with health fair and senior prom
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./
HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
Last year’s prom queen was Queenie
Crawford. The king was Thomas Hymes Jr.

The City of Daytona Beach’s Light Up Midtown returns again this month with its health fair and senior prom as featured events.

The health fair is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Daisy Stocking Park, 55 Third Ave. The event is free and open to all ages.

The senior prom, open to anyone 55 and older, will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Midtown Educational & Cultural Center, 925 George W. Engram Blvd.

“It’s a good time for the community to come together for fun. A lot of people the seniors who attend the prom have contributed vastly to this community. We have a lot of former educators who taught over 40 years as well as retired business leaders,” said Charles Bryant, the city’s Midtown Redevelopment project manager.

‘A good time’
Bryant continued, “Our elderly often get lost in the shuffle. It’s the one time of the year for seniors to get with those who haven’t seen for years at a time. Also, a lot of the elderly have never attended a prom. That has always amazed me. Every year there are many who are attending their first prom. It’s a good time, nice meal, gifts, dancing, talking and just have a good time.’’

The event is sponsored by various local businesses and organizations.

“It’s also a time that we give back to the community for the services that many people have contributed over the years. We want to do something to appreciate what they did,” Bryant related.

Free screenings
The health fair is designed to bring awareness and get people healthy, Bryant stated.

“Just a simple checkup before the holidays to make sure blood pressure and blood sugar are right. People are going to eat unhealthy during the holidays,” he noted.

The health fair will offer free health screenings and HIV testing. There will be giveaways, bounce houses for kids, free hot dogs and hamburgers. Attendees also will have plenty of opportunity to get in some exercise with line dancing. The entertainment will include music and poetry.

Farm Share Feeding Families of Jacksonville also will send tractor trailer of free food that will be distributed.
Last year, enough food was given out to feed 1,300 families.

It has grown
“Light Up Midtown has really grown and progressed, especially the prom. I am completely out of tickets. I have had to turn people away. I originally envisioned it with about 100 people; now we’ll have over 400,” Bryant shared.
In its first year, 275 people attended. It grew to 385 last year. Tickets were free but had to be pre-ordered.
As in the past years, a prom king and queen will be crowned. Last year’s king was Thomas Hymes Jr. and the queen was Quennie Crawford, who turned 100 years old this year.

Changed format
Light Up Midtown originally was designed for homes and business to turn on their Christmas lights beginning at 7 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month.

“We originally wanted a tree-lighting ceremony and for businesses and homes to decorate and light up their property. Businesses just didn’t participate. The first couple of years we did awards for best decorations,’’ Bryant said.

2017 sponsors
Light Up Midtown could add more events in the future.

“We have a small committee that organizes it, but I am open to doing more. I am working with the city’s Cultural Services to see if we can do more events, he remarked.

VITAS Healthcare is the signature sponsor.

Other sponsors include Island Doctors, Parker Mynchenberg and Associations, Lassiter Transportation Group, Planning Solutions Corp, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center, Florida Health Department Volusia County, The Crab Stop, Cole Cobble, Spruce Creek Scuba, Midtown Heat, Midtown Black Heritage District.

For more information, call 386-671-8185 or email Charles Bryant at bryantc@codb.us.

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