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It was a cold and blustery day in York, PA on Saturday, March 11th, but the Irish spirit was turned up on high, as thousands lined Market Street to cheer on this year's York St. Patrick's Day Parade! This year marked Patient First's return as a parade sponsor, after a pandemic-forced hiatus, and it was a welcome one, at that! Our staff greatly appreciated the fact that parade organizers arranged to have the local Lutheran church open its hall to parade participants, allowing them to escape the wind and cold while enjoying warm beverages and snacks as they awaited the start of the parade.
Once we stepped off to begin, there were plenty of cries of, "We love Patient First!," as we marched the six blocks down West Market Street, handing out band-aid dispensers, hand sanitizers, and yo-yo's to the crowd. Before we knew it, the parade was over, and nearly all of our handouts were gone!
Everyone agreed this was a great event to take part in, and we look forward to next St. Patrick's Day and our return!
The return to events in the Central PA region kicked off Saturday, February 18th with our return to the Lititz Fire & Ice Festival! This popular week-long event draws crowds from as far north as New Jersey and the Northern VA/DC area to the south, as this tiny Amish town suddenly bursts at the seams.
After a 3-year pandemic-induced hiatus, Patient First returned to this event, participating in this year's Chili Cook-Off, Vendor Fair & Kids' Carnival, sponsored by the Lititz Lions Club. This facet of the festival took place at Warwick High School, just a short walk from the rows of beautiful ice sculptures that lined the streets of central Lititz. About 2,500 people came through the doors to purchase arts and crafts, and partake in 11 different chilis offered by various restaurants, caterers, and senior facilities. The school's gym was also transformed into a bounce house and inflatable paradise for kids to get out all that pent-up winter energy!
After a few months' respite, it was great to get back into participating in these events, and get out and meet our patients, and thank them for choosing us as their urgent and primary care providers!
This week's school partner spotlight focuses on Fort Garrison Elementary. Located near our Lutherville center in Baltimore County, Patient First has had a long history of supporting the school, its 283 students, and the community at large. This school year, we are proud to help provide Fort Garrison with the funding for communications and learning support equipment for their autism programs, as well as a Ballroom Dancing and Family Night for 4th and 5th graders! We thank Principal Dr. Hope Baier, and PTA President Rachel Mogilevsky for their hard work, and allowing us to work with them.
Every year, Patient First selects two elementary schools near each of its 77 centers as a community partner in an effort to further support the health and growth of neighborhood it serves. Our partnership begins with a donation to the school to fund projects or programs that directly benefit the students of each of our partner schools, but it doesn't end there. We continue to engage with the faculty, students and parents at each of these schools through community events like back-to-school nights, family resource nights, health and wellness fairs, school fun runs, and even fall and spring festivals.
This week, we are showcasing Nitrauer Elementary as our Partner School of the Week. Located just minutes from our Lancaster center, Nitrauer has been a committed partner with Patient First for several years. This year, Patient First will be helping Nitrauer Elementary fund student assemblies, and a program of lunches recognizing good student behavior, culminating in a recognition of outstanding students for each quarter.
Patient First thanks principal Smita Weakland, as well as the faculty, staff and students at Nitrauer Elementary for being such great partners, and we look forward to supporting their work throughout the year!
The warm temperatures may have belied the name, but hundreds of people came to Conestoga Pines Park in Lancaster PA to celebrate the return of the Fall Happy Harvest Festival. After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year marked the first time the Lancaster Rec was able to reestablish this celebration since 2019. The day-long event was divided into two parts-- the first part centered around food and a beer garden, while a second late afternoon/early evening event focused on a more family-centric atmosphere. That latter portion featured events like craft making, s'more roasting, pumpkin chunkin', and a comedy magic show featuring "Papa Tater."
This was the first year that Patient First participated in this tradition. Our table was set up inside the barn, where we oversaw the craft tables for kids building fall-themed centerpieces of their homes. While the kids created, parents could come to our table and speak with us, while taking home our promotional items. Over the last few events, an increasing number of families have expressed interest in having us become their primary care physicians, and this event continued that trend.
As with many events returning from the pandemic, attendance reports were down from past years. This year saw an estimated 300 families come out for the second half of the festival. Despite the low numbers we had many productive conversations, and we look forward to seeing attendance rise as we participate in future years.
On Friday, October 21st, and Saturday, October 22nd, the campground at Codurus State Park was filled with werewolves, witches, ghouls, and all varieties of ghastly and ghostly creatures for the 2nd annual Codurus Trail of Treats. A tradition that actually began 15 years ago, this event returned in its rebranded form in the wake of the pandemic. Campers and businesses pull out all the stops, while event organizers open up the park to 6,000 ticket holders who wended their way through the grounds, filling up on Halloween fun.
This was our first time participating in this event, and it was certainly an event to remember! A non-stop wave of families streamed past our table and tent, which was not just decked out in some creepy Halloween decor, but also featured a life-sized version of the classic game "Operation," as we invited kids to play the game to win yo-yo's, planes, and hot/cold packs. In addition, every person who came by received one of our Halloween safety blinkers, which were not only a big hit with parents and kids alike, but they also looked really cool when they all were lit up in the buckets as we distributed them! Our staff got a kick out of the wide array of Halloween costumes, ranging from the cute to the terrifying.
With the park being about 25 miles from our East York center, families were familiar with our center and services. Many said they wished we would open a location closer to Hanover to serve their needs. All were grateful, however, for the work we do, and that we came out to talk with them.
This was truly a unique event that was fun for the whole family, and based on both staff and participant reaction, we look forward to participating again next year!
Be sure to scroll through all the pictures, by clicking on the arrows at the side of each photo.
It was the last crab feast of the summer for many, as they traveled to Sandy Point State Park along the west shore of the Chesapeake Bay on September 24th and 25th, for the 56th annual Maryland Seafood Festival. People from all across the Delmarva region turned out in droves to sample the wide range of culinary preparations made possible by the bounty of the bay.
As a sponsor of the festival, our Patient First tent was one of the first to greet the approximately 45,000 guests as they passed through the gates of this two day event. Our staff heard nothing but wonderful things from our former patients about the treatment they received, including more than a few who credited our staff with literally saving their lives!
In addition to the delicious array of seafood items being offered for sale, the festival featured a crab soup cookoff, several BMX stunt shows, an inflatable fun park, numerous live bands, craft vendors, and games like axe throwing and cornhole. In all, there was a little something for everyone, and we certainly look forward to being a part of next year's fun, as well!
They came by the literal busloads; more than 40,000 travelers, from as far away as upstate New York and North Carolina, all to the small Amish township of Bird-In-Hand, PA from September 16th through the 18th, all to take part in the Lancaster Hot Air Balloon Festival.
This was our second year participating in this three-day event, and the weather could not have been more idyllic for both an outdoor festival, and for ballooning. In addition to the variety of food, music and performers ranging from street magicians to appearances from Disney Princesses and heroes from the Marvel and DC universes, the highlight of each day was the ascension of over 40 hot air balloons in both the morning and evening.
In addition to our tent, which put us in contact with customers from New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, as well as Pennsylvania, we sponsored the festival's corn maze, and our sign was featured on one of the balloons that went up. So many people were familiar with our centers, and had 100% positive comments regarding their care, the cleanliness of our centers, and the friendly and caring attention of our staff.
This is a family-friendly, visually spectacular event that draws a large crowd spanning our entire service area. We look forward to returning as a sponsor next year!
York PA's Cousler Park typically plays host to area joggers, dog walkers, and residents out to enjoy the fresh air, its trees and fields, or maybe a game of tennis or basketball. But on Saturday, September 17th, the park played host to a wide variety of magical and fantastic beings, all taking part in this year's Enchanted Fairy Festival.
Already in its sixth year of operation, this was Patient First's first time participating in this colorful display of imagination and fantasy. A variety of vendors set up shop all along two miles of the park's winding path, which also featured a pirate's cove, a mermaid pond, an Alice in Wonderland tea party court, and a jet air gun spewing foam onto the asphalt, where kids could escape from the heat.
In addition to our usual giveaway items like band-aids, hot/cold packs, hand sanitizers and yo-yo's, at this event we set up a second table where children could come and create their own personal fairies out of popsicle sticks, fabric, and tulle. It was a huge hit! As the kids created their craft, parents stayed and talked with us about the services we provide, and their positive experiences as our patients.
Organizers say this year was their biggest year to date, with over 6,000 people coming out in a variety of amazing costumes. We certainly look forward to seeing what's in store here next year!
A gorgeous weekend and clear, cloudless skies provided a picture perfect setting for this year's Baltimore Fleet Week and Flyover event at the Inner Harbor. This marked Patient First's first year taking part in the celebration of the U.S. Navy, with a booth set up on Friday, September 9th, and Saturday, September 10th.
This event drew a wide range of tourists, given the fact of Baltimore's draw as a tourist city, the fact that the Orioles were in town playing it's division rival Boston Red Sox, and that the event drew families of Navy sailors from across the country, there to see their sons and daughters. People came to our table from as far away as Georgia, Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri, and Florida, just to name a few.
The weekend itself was quite the spectacle, with a variety of planes flying overhead at various points in the day, including F-18 fighters creating sonic booms, and impressive ocean going vessels like the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and a Danish tall ship. All of our volunteers who turned out to support our sponsorship had a great time seeing the sights, and interacting with our customers, and the organizers were very helpful in meeting our needs. It was a rewarding day for everyone!