NEWARK, NJ - The 13th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival is expected to draw more than 50,000 attendees to Newark’s Lincoln Park for a three-day festival featuring jazz, gospel, house and hip-hop beginning July 27th.

But the festival is not just about the music.

For the fifth year in a row, the festival will feature a Sustainable Health and Wellness Village (SHWV) that will offer free health screenings, educational sessions, pop-up fitness classes and for the first time, a senior bake-off featuring nationally acclaimed chefs as judges. Seniors and veterans will also have access to services geared directly toward their needs.

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The SHWV is an integrated population healthcare system that leverages health and wellness resources, innovative delivery methods, and existing community assets to connect disadvantaged groups to essential care, services, and support, said Keith DaCosta, who is spearheading the Village on behalf of the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, a non-profit that organizes the festival every year.

 “We want people to come to the festival and enjoy the music, but we also want them to take advantage of the opportunities we are offering for living a healthy lifestyle,” DaCosta said. “We hope attendees come away from the festival with valuable information that they can incorporate into their every-day life.”

The SHWV expects to award in-kind prizes valued at more than $10,000 and conduct some 3,500 health screenings, tests and other medical actions. The main tent will feature more than 40 education sessions on a variety of health-related topics, ranging from obesity, cancer, heart disease, mental health, and autism, just to name a few.

The SHWV has partnered with the city’s major healthcare institutions, including RWJ Barnabas Health, University Hospital, Saint Michael’s Medical Center and Rutgers Biomedical, as well as health and senior departments representing Newark, Irvington, East Orange and Orange as well as Essex County.

The SHWV also has support from major corporations, including Panasonic, United Healthcare, Panasonic, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Delta Dental, UPS, Audible, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Target, Walgreens and City MD Urgent Care.

On Friday, July 27, the focus of the SHWV will be on senior health and well-being. The day will also feature senior bake off with prizes ranging from $150 for third place to $350 for first place. The contest will be judged by Tod Wilson, owner of Mr. Todd's Pie Factory featured on Shark Tank; Chef Danielle Saunders, who has been a personal chef to celebrities including Oprah, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Tom Hanks; Vonda McPherson, owner of Vonda's Kitchen and Edwin Chino Rosario, owner of O’LaLa Empanadas. The senior bake off will emphasize diabetes management, food resources and healthy eating.

On Saturday, July 28, the focus of the SHWV will be on the modern family. All the SHWV components will be featured plus activities for the family including Horse education by the Bergen Equestrian Center (BEC).  Bergen Equestrian Center (BEC) is a full service equestrian center located in Leonia, NJ.  Part of their mission is to provide community access to horses, the NJ State animal, and they are especially committed to keeping horses available to our urban communities.

During the final day of the festival, Sunday, the focus will be on multicultural and multigenerational men’s health. The focus will be on empowering men with resources that will help them improve their overall health. The SHWV will also provide a safe place for open dialogue on issues such as parenting, reentry, substance abuse, job readiness, housing etc.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 34.5 percent of men aged 20 and over are obese.

"Obesity is at epidemic levels for everyone, especially men," DaCosta said. "The SHWV recognizes this issue is the precursor for other diseases and will look to address it with proactive strategies."

During all three days of the festival, the SHWV will offer resources for veterans and their families, including 15-20 federal, state and community-based nonprofit veteran service providers. The SHWV has also partnered with Columbia University and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University, which has received funding to develop and test an innovative mobile and web app designed to help bereaved military families better manage their grief. The groups will be demonstrating the app.

Throughout the festival, participants can also take a break from the music to participate in pop-up fitness classes offered by Diamond’s Gym, Blink Fitness, Fast Fitness Team USA, the Pan-American Caribbean Boxing Organization.

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