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Tai Chi to tribal grooves

Holistic Health Fair packs vendors with unusual offerings


qi gong

Dan Pool / Photo

“You can’t go wrong doing Qigong,” says instructor Lisa Pasila of Bent Tree, at front. Qigong was just one of many classes, seminars and vendor demonstrations Saturday at the Holistic Health Fair in Roper Park community center.



If you were looking for belly-dancing (exercise that helps you “get in touch with the feminine and even some guys need to get in touch with their feminine side”);

Or, a sugar-foot rub (sugar removes toxins according to the massage therapist);

Or, a Qigong class ( “You can’t go wrong if you are doing Qigong”), the Holistic Health Fair Saturday at the Community Center in Roper Park brought them all to town.

Local crowds seemed a little thin but enthusiastic for a first–time event that brought more than 50 vendors, teachers and speakers here.

Organized by Jeanne Wells, who was there with her “Jeanne in a Bottle” products, the first-time gathering of all things holistic met with approval from vendors for the networking opportunity with other natural health, green eating and unusual exercise crowd. 

Members of the public were impressed with the chance to try unique offerings like a Tai Chi or hear a speaker discuss how emotions affect your health or buy locally-grown tea all in one location.

“I am shocked by the size of this,” said Bent Tree resident Maria Boling who came out after seeing the ads. “And these are my neighbors and I never knew they were here.”

Boling visited several booths and was giving belly dancing a shot. “Belly dancing – it’s been me for years. I just didn’t know it.”

In the vendor area, Ross Galbreath with his grow towers for home vegetables, said this fair is definitely something different for the area, but that people moving in are looking for events like these. He believed if the fair becomes a yearly event it will draw an increasing number of people.

Debbie Possehl of Talking Rock with Xperience Connections, spoke highly of the opportunity to find others in the natural health field. 

“This would be an impressive event, even in Atlanta,” she said. Using the same words as Ms. Boling, she added, “I am shocked to see this many [vendors].”

Possehl said for the general public, holistic practitioners still have much educating to do. 

“People may think it is voodoo, but it’s just food and exercise,” she said. “A lot of people don’t understand.”

Following her class “Opening meridians for self care,” the original Jasper holistic practitioner, Barbara Moore of Touch for Healing, said this fair marks a huge step forward for alternative options. When she began offering Reiki massage and other treatments here decades ago, people worried it might be witchcraft.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “I’m so excited to see so many people come out for this.”

She judged the crop of vendors and teachers to be high quality providers of healthy lifestyle options – “no nuts.”

“It’s all about getting your lifeforce and electricity wound up and when you do, you go like a buzzsaw,” she said.

(Moore shared this secret during her class, patting the tummy regularly brings weight loss by opening a meridian there.)

Jeanne Wells who organized it all said it had taken a monumental effort to round up so many diverse booths (no duplicates). Most were from this area with a couple from Atlanta.

She is hoping education on what’s available holistically will draw more people to future events or to use the services.

  “People are afraid because they don’t understand,” she said. “We need to educate people that there are alternative ways to heal other than popping pills.”

Wells thanked all the supporters and attendees, “I would like to thank all of the sponsors, speakers, instructors, vendors and participants who came to the Jeanne In A Bottle Holistic Health Fair. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to come and help to educate the people of the north Georgia mountains on this important subject. I would also like to thank all of those who attended the event.”