Easton’s Multi-Cultural Vaccination and Wellness Day featured National and Regional musicians, both financial and physical wellness exhibitors and some very creative crafts and activities for children. Hosted and organized by The Avalon Foundation, this year’s main draw to the festival was the administering of vaccines to the underserved communities on Delmarva. Between 10am and 2pm there were a total of 87 vaccines administered to community residents, 66 of which were Hispanic, 21 non-Hispanic. There were 83 residents from Talbot County who received vaccine, 3 from Dorchester and 1 from Caroline.
Beyond the vaccines there was another unforeseen benefit of the festival, people came together again for the first time in a long time. “We heard it from both exhibitors and patrons over and over all day that they felt this was the first time the community had been together in over a year. It really took me by surprise. They also commented they felt safe and that it was wonderful to be able to gather again, even in this limited way,” said Suzy Moore who organized the event for the Avalon.
Jessica Bellis, COO at The Avalon added, “A large part of our mission is to bring people together to create a stronger community. We have not been able to do that inside of our theatre walls for over a year now so our staff has figured out other ways to do that under very tough conditions. Having vaccines administered to underserved communities in a festival like setting felt like a wonderful thing to do this year” Vaccines were given by the professionals at Choptank Community Health throughout the day, while music from Easton Middle and Easton High School bands rang in the air. “Choptank Health is grateful to have been a part of such a successful event with so many of our community partners,” said CEO Sara Rich. “The Avalon’s leadership and outreach with this event complements our work of healthcare for all. It was an honor for us to be a part of this amazing day. We’re also looking forward to vaccinating more of our diverse populations at our upcoming vaccine clinics throughout the Mid-Shore.” The emcees for the day were Tori Pack and Heena Paracha from The Race Thing and interviews featured Maryland candidate for Governor, John King among others. “We were also able to speak with Sara Rich to address some of the skepticism about vaccinations, which is as important as the vaccination itself,” said Pack. “It was great to see the community come together to promote equity in vaccinations by providing access to BIPOC that have been affected disproportionately both in outcomes and in finding access to vaccinations. We are so grateful for all the entertainers especially Kofi Denis from Ghana, for keeping the crowd entertained and having high energy throughout. And we don’t want to forget the translators who were a big proponent of accessibility, especially when it comes to non-English speaking out-reach.”
Even with their expertise in building and hosting large community events for Talbot County over the last 25 years, a vaccination day, most likely, will not be a repeat show for the Avalon Foundation but they are unlikely to forget this festival anytime soon. Nancy Andrew, Executive Director of Talbot Family Network added, “What a great day. And also a reminder why we’re working together to promote access to the vaccine. It was so nice being at an event, among friends, listening to music, and enjoying the weekend. The vaccine will help us get back to the fun we’ve been missing.”
Those who received vaccines at the festival will receive their second doses on Tuesday, June 2 at Idlewild Park.