Ocoee celebrating spring with annual fling

This year, Saving Young Hearts will provide free heart screenings for children ages 5-18.

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Flora, children’s activities, educational booths and music are just a portion of what will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at the city of Ocoee’s 11th Annual Spring Fling. It takes place at Bill Breeze Park, 125 N. Lakeshore Drive, and admission is free.

The event is paid for through police forfeiture funds, Police Chief Charlie Brown said.

“The enforcement aspect of our job doesn’t always provide a setting for the educational services we provide,” he said. “This event gives the public the opportunity to speak with officers in a non-enforcement setting to learn more about our agency and these services. We are fingerprinting children, and everyone can learn more about educational opportunities such as handgun safety, women’s self-defense and our combined police and fire citizen public safety academy. 

Dozens of vendors will showcase community services available in the area. The event will offer food, door prizes and fun activities such as a bike rodeo and balloon artist for families to enjoy. Trees, plants and rain barrels will be given to Ocoee citizens who show proof of residency. To preregister for the rain barrel workshop, call (407) 905-3159.

Several safety-related presentations and demonstrations will be presented throughout the day, including an educational road obstacle track. A 9/11 display will be set up, as well.

“The great thing about the overall event is we bring together multiple safety service providers,” Chief Brown said. “A family may come to see Ocoee Police officers and learn about the dangers of texting and driving from FDOT or get all of their children heart screenings provided by Saving Young Hearts. This event focuses on kids but will be great for the entire family. Along with learning something new, there will be food, fun and prizes.”

New this year will be free heart screenings for youth ages 5 to 18. The heart screenings, sponsored by Saving Young Hearts, will consist of several diagnostics, including personal and family heart health questionnaire, height and weight, blood pressure reading, electrocardiogram and auscultation. Preregistration is required and is limited to 300 students. Visit www.SavingYoungHearts.org.

SYH was started by Andy Anderson and Martha Lopez-Anderson following the death of their 10-year-old son, Sean, of cardiac arrest.

“One of the most difficult things is we learned that he died from something that could have been prevented,” Lopez-Anderson said. “It was like we lost our son again. It’s preventable either through detection or through the availability of AEDs.

“We took our child to the doctor for every single well-child checkup, as pediatricians tell you, and these tests are not included in a well-child checkup, and they aren’t required as part of a pre-sport physical.”

The goal of Spring Fling is to educate, raise awareness and empower residents to be safe. For more information, visit ocoee.org or call (407) 905-3100.


Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].