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Street aerobics at 'Streets Alive!'

As in past years, street aerobics will be among the activities offered Sept. 22 at "Streets Alive!"

There certainly is no shortage of great community activities happening in September. Over a space of five days, from Sept. 18-23, Lincolnites can literally festival hop from one fun event to another, and Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln, organizer of "Streets Alive!", says it’s all good.

Getting people out and active is the goal of "Streets Alive!" says Bob Rauner, a family physician and president of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln. Rather than looking at all these event choices as competition for visitors, Rauner says, “The more, the merrier. Part of our organizational mission is to encourage and promote physical activity to help combat the obesity epidemic. We hope people take advantage of as many of these active opportunities as possible.”

In 2010, Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln was looking for an outreach event idea that promoted community health, wellness and vitality. They discovered "Streets Alive! -- an outdoor festival that began in South America over 40 years ago where main streets were closed to traffic, allowing people to get out, walk around their community and socialize. The tradition expanded to include live performances, aerobics and yoga classes, farmers' markets and more. The “open streets” concept has spread worldwide, including to the U.S., where many communities hold annual events to remind people to get outside, be active and meet their neighbors.

Lincoln’s "Streets Alive!" is a free outdoor wellness and movement festival full of health resources, music, dance, art, fitness classes, kids’ activities, healthy food and fresh produce. It stretches over 2 miles, blocked off from traffic, to encourage people to walk, skate or bike throughout the festival route.

"Streets Alive!" is a mobile festival, moving to a new neighborhood every two years. This year and next, it is being hosted by the Cooper Park/South Salt Creek neighborhood -- this year on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 1-4:30 p.m. The festival location is just a stone’s throw from two other Lincoln festivals, the Lincoln Calling Music Fest and the Lincoln Arts Festival, happening in downtown Lincoln around the same time.

The three organizations got together and decided to cross promote, encouraging people to walk and bike between the festivals. Lincoln Calling is lending some of its musicians to perform at "Streets Alive!" and the SoDo Art Hub has recruited work from local artists to create an art walk inside the "Streets Alive!" route. The "Streets Alive!" art walk will also display LPS students' work alongside pieces from the Lux Art Gallery and the traveling exhibition of the Serving Hands sculpture project curated by Liz Shea-McCoy.

The art walk will offer kids’ activities like chalk art, led by a professional chalk artist, and face painting. Lincoln Calling musicians The Wise and Jurana will perform, as well as local favorites Cool Poppas and Less Talk More Polka.

"Streets Alive!" is family, child, pet and wheelchair-friendly. For more information about "Streets Alive!" visit HealthyLincoln.org/streetsalive, for Lincoln Calling visit lincolncalling.com, and for the Lincoln Arts Show visit artscene.org/events/lincoln-arts-festival.

Other festival events happening shortly before or after "Streets Alive!", Lincoln Calling and the Lincoln Arts Festival include the Asian Community and Cultural Center’s Harvest Moon Festival and El Centro de las Americas’ Festivo Latino. Additionally, the Lincoln Police Department will host the Catch a Cop fun run in Mahoney Park. Visit each of their Facebook pages for information about times, places and other details.

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