Rodeo playground, giant Jenga and more. Here’s what’s planned for Open Streets in Bellefonte

Bellefonte streets will be flooded this weekend with wellness activities, thanks to a new event promoting exercise and healthy behaviors.

Mount Nittany Health, partnering with Northwest Bank, will host its first-ever “Open Streets” event in Bellefonte on Saturday, where sections of Allegheny and High streets will be closed to traffic to “allow people of all ages to be active on the streets of Bellefonte — by foot, by bike, or even by skateboard — and engage in a number of healthy activities,” said Nichole Monica, director of community health and outreach.

The event was inspired by other programs around the country, and “it seemed a great fit for the beautiful streets of our historic Bellefonte community and the healthy culture of community connectedness that already exists (here),” she said.

Monica said Mount Nittany Health wanted to “go beyond responding to chronic disease to taking a preventative approach to health care in our community.”

Some of the activities offered at Open Streets will be: an Ultimate Ninja Warrior Challenge, a rodeo playground for children 10 and under, a game zone sponsored by Centre Foundation featuring giant Jenga and Four Square, an Encompass Health Fit Heart Zone with a Spin n’ Shoot stationary bike and basketball station sponsored by Bellefonte YMCA of Centre County, a scavenger hunt and an arts station.

Centre Crest is also sponsoring a health snack station, Harmony at State College is sponsoring a hydration station, Cool Beans Coffee and Tea will offer a smoothie tasting booth and Bellefonte Farmers Market in the Gamble Mill parking lot will be expanding its hours for Open Streets attendees.

Even though Centre County ranks as the second healthiest county in Pennsylvania, said Monica, “overall in our county, 24% of adults are overweight or obese ... our goal is to reduce that percentage to improve health and quality of life and reduce chronic disease.”

A two-year DietSpotlight study, corroborated by Mount Nittany Medical Center, found Centre County residents should lose, on average, 53 pounds, the CDT reported last month.

But access to exercise and physical activity remains high in Centre County, with 74% of adults in the county reporting they have access to exercise opportunities, and 83% of adults reporting they participate in physical activity, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study cited by Monica.

“Our roots are in this community, and so is our future — this idea allows us to build on that commitment with an event that extends the advice of our doctors’ offices to the open streets of our Bellefonte community,” she said.

Open Streets is Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on Open Streets, visit the event’s website,

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Sarah Paez covers Centre County communities, government and town and gown relations for the Centre Daily Times. She studied English and Spanish at Cornell University and grew up outside of Washington, D.C.