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Bouncing back.

Annual HealthFest Brings Thousands to Garland County for Athletic Endeavors

MOST PEOPLE THINK OF Hot Springs as a pleasant, quiet area with an atmosphere perfect for relaxing.

Relaxing, however, will be the last thing on the minds of the thousands expected to flock to the Garland County city Nov. 20-22 for HealthFest Weekend.

The annual event, designed to celebrate not only competitive but recreational activities, began Nov. 7 with a golf tournament at the Hot Springs Country Club.

The athletic activities will provide the participants with not only a sense of achievement and physical well-being but a colorful view of the historic downtown Hot Springs locale and the nearby Ouachita National Forest.

Many of the city's hotels are offering special room rates in an attempt to draw even more visitors to what has become one of Arkansas' most widely anticipated athletic events.

Runners, bikers, swimmers and tennis players all will find something of interest at HealthFest, which will be highlighted by the Mountain Valley Spring Spa 10K run on Nov. 21. A 2.75-mile fun run and 2.75-mile walk will be held in conjunction with the race, both beginning at 9 a.m. at Spencer's Corner on Central Avenue.

A Liten Up seminar will be held at the Arlington Hotel for all race participants and their families before the awards ceremony later that afternoon honoring the top finishers.

The Attila the Hun Mountain Bike Sports Challenge, run on a three-mile trail through Waterworks Park, will be held at 11 a.m. that same day, followed by the Ouachita Mountain Bike Association Scenic Mountain Tour. A biking awards ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the Arlington.

A tennis tournament, to be held at Belvedere Country Club, kicks off Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. and continues through the next day.

The state's Road Runners Club of America will hold its statewide meeting that Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Arlington, which will also be the site of the statewide running Grand Prix Awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. The evening will wrap up with the All Sports Party at 8 p.m. at the Arlington.

A Chamber Creation

The sports festival is produced by the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce's Special Events division. This year's sponsors are Mountain Valley Spring Water, St. Joseph's Regional Health Center, Weyerhaeuser, Coco Beverage Inc., the Coca-Cola Bottling Co., AMI National Park Medical Center, Worthen National Bank of Hot Springs, Arkansas Bank and Trust and the Arlington Hotel.

Healthfest, in its ninth year, draws 5,000-6,000 participants and spectators each year. Some 1,900 athletes took part in the event last year, 70 percent of them from outside the Hot Springs area.

The 1990 event produced $246,000 in revenue for the city, with each participant spending an average of $42.84, according to state Department of Parks and Tourism figures. Last year's festival had an economic impact of $325,000 on the city, according to a Chamber of Commerce spokesman.

Some of the other attractions during this year's HealthFest include a HealthFeast banquet Nov. 20 for all participants, an open house at the Mountain Valley Spring Water headquarters on Central Avenue the following day and the Inspiration Walk/Run to Hot Springs Mountain Tower on Nov. 22.
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Title Annotation:economic returns for Hot Springs, Arkansas, of holding of the HealthFest athletic events for Hot Springs, Arkansas
Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Nov 9, 1992
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