Alcorn Extension hosts 2017 Holiday Affair Events

The Alcorn State University Extension Program hosted its 2017 Holiday Affair Expo on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the Vicksburg City Auditorium. Students, faculty and staff, family, and friends received highlights and information about holiday safety, how to decorate on a budget, and healthier lifestyle practices for the holidays. The event featured free giveaways, a healthy holiday meal and much more.

The Honorable George Flaggs Jr., Mayor of the City of Vicksburg, greeted everyone in attendance and thanked them for participating in this year’s Holiday Affair Expo. Vendors from various retailers, health and safety departments, and community organizations were on hand to provide information on everything from blood sugar and cholesterol screenings to bra fittings.

Officer Eric Paymon, along with various members of the Vicksburg City Police Department hosted an informational booth dedicated to educating participants on holiday safety.

According to Police Department crime prevention specialist Danielle Williams, “We’re here to educate the community about how to be safe at home and away during the holiday season. We want them to know how to protect themselves, their homes, and their valuables during this time.”

Dr. Martha Ravola, interim chair, Department of Human Sciences was the keynote speaker for the event. She gave audience members tips on mindful eating habits, making time for dinner with family, and staying active. She reminded everyone to eat mom’s delicious holiday desserts in moderation. She also touted the importance of finding the time to relax and practice wellness techniques during the holiday stress. She reminded participants that health and wellness are the best gifts to give during the holiday season.

“Gifts are important, but let’s ensure they are healthy. Things such as fruit baskets, healthy snacks, jump ropes and books are all great gifts to show that we care about our loved ones,” she said.

Manola Erby, Area 4-H youth specialist, gave participants a glimpse of how the information found on food nutrition labels translates to everyday use. Using a Mountain Dew, the audience was stunned as she demonstrated what the 18 teaspoons of sugar contained in the drink look like in solid form. She encouraged guests to review portion sizes and to “do as they please but to do so in moderation.”

Jardana Brice, area family and consumer sciences educator gave a demonstration on how to create holiday décor on a budget. She crafted beautiful flower arrangements from common, thrifty items. After she was done, the arrangements were offered as door prizes.

As the event came to a close, participants were offered one final treat. Valerie Wright, family and consumer sciences educator, along with Karmeen Pittman and Olivia Martinez, EFNEP educators, shared recipes and offered samples of healthy alternatives to traditional holiday recipes. Guests were also treated to a delicious meal, consisting of roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, dessert and sweet tea.

A second Holiday Affair Expo will be held Nov. 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Claiborne County Multipurpose Building, 1703 Bridewell Lane, Port Gibson, MS. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Mattie Rasco, nutrition specialist, assistant professor, at 601.877.6281, 601.415.0491 or mrasco@alcorn.edu. You may also contact Valerie Wright at 601.437.5011 or vwright@alcorn.edu.