Manayunk’s first annual Fit Fest jump-starts Fitness Week

Fitness enthusiasts of all ages came together Saturday for the first annual Manayunk “Fit Fest.”

The festival, held in the Levering Street Parking Lot just off of Main Street, brought together small businesses and residents of Manayunk for a day of health information and fitness activities. The event also served as a kick-off to Manayunk Fitness Week.

Jane Lipton, Executive Director for the Manayunk Development Corporation, says the “Fit Fest” was put together to satisfy two different community goals.

“The fitness businesses in Manayunk were thinking that they wanted to do some sort of fitness expo, and at the same time, the city was asking districts that have the bike race come through their neighborhood to do some more family-friendly events for bike race weekend,” she said. “We saw some symmetry there, and Manayunk ‘Fit Fest’ was born.”

Along with information tables, guests were treated to a number of free live 30-minute work out classes. Julie Sabella, owner of The Wall Cycling Studio on Levering Street, led a cycling class, Merge Dance Studio held a hip-hop dance class and Bikram Yoga Manayunk offered guests a free session of yoga.

Sabella was one of the many fitness-related business owners who was on hand to share information about her studio, as well as to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Sabella says that while some people may see the Manayunk area as a “drunk college town,” the reality is that there are many young professionals in the area who regularly work out. She says that she couldn’t be happier with how the first “Fit Fest” went and was encouraged by the energy she saw on Saturday.

“Even the cyclists that are riding by are cheering as things go on,” she said. “It’s a huge success.”

The “Fit Fest” also featured a fundraiser called “Walk the Wall.” Individuals got a chance to walk up the infamous Manayunk Wall to help raise money for charity. For a small donation, participants not only got a taste of what cyclists participating in the Philly Cycling Classic will experience Sunday, but they also received a backpack and a pin to commemorate their trek up the wall.

All proceeds from “Walk the Wall” will go to Journey’s Way, the Manayunk Roxborough Food Co-Op, North Light Community Center and the Roxborough YMCA.

Manayunk Fitness Week officially starts on Sunday, June 2, and runs through June 7.  For $25, locals can sample full classes at 12 different fitness businesses. All proceeds from Fitness Week sales will benefit Neighborhood Bike Works, a nonprofit organization which offers educational and recreational programming for urban youth. 

Sean Smith and Kayla Cook are Temple University students. This piece was produced for Philadelphia Neighborhoods in collaboration with WHYY/NewsWorks. 

Disclosure: WHYY/NewsWorks is a media sponsor of the Manayunk Fit Fest.

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