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Second Sunday draws a crowd

Think fitness gym on the courthouse square, with stationary bikes and tai chi classes. Add the unexpected: A dog-bone hunt and a baby-stroller workout. Throw in bicyclists, skateboarders, hula-hoopers and accidental exercisers who walked to and from their car, and you had "Second Sunday."

For the first time in as many as 70 Kentucky cities, officials blocked off streets for an afternoon to encourage people to get outside and get some exercise.

In Lexington, UK Fayette Extension Agent Diana Doggett, one of the statewide organizers, estimated the crowd at 2,000.

"The message here is to show local officials as well as the rest of the nation that Kentuckians are serious about changing the health status of the state, and serious about having access to an infrastructure for physical activity," said Doggett. She hopped on one of several stationary bikes lined up on the courthouse lawn.

Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry rode bicycles on Limestone between the Avenue of Champions and Third Street with his wife, Cheryl Ann, and sons Will, 8, and Drew, 9.

The mayor says he hopes that Second Sunday is an annual event: "The feedback has been off the charts."

Tai chi on the lawn

Cheryl Irwin, a Tates Creek High School teacher, performed tai chi with eight or nine others on the Fayette County courthouse lawn.

"I've been taking tai chi at the YMCA for seven or eight years," said Irwin, 53. "Tai chi is a really good exercise and a great stress reliever. It's a way to shed off the day or begin the day."

Hula-hooping with friends

Sandy Brown, 61, hula-hooped with Hannah Jenkins, 81/2, and Emilee Turner, 6.

"I hula-hooped and I've got a bad back," said Brown. " But it's a beautiful day and it's a healthy choice."

Marion Eversole, 63, Emilee's grandmother, and Carol Jenkins, 52, Hannah's mother, came too.

Eversole stopped short of the hula hoop.

But she said, "I walked a mile down here."

A different kind of polo

Brad Flowers, 30, was part of a group that played bike polo on Main Street, using ski poles and a ball, and orange cones for the goal.

Flowers said his group has been playing for about one year, after seeing a national tournament in Chicago.

"It's similar to hockey," he said.

Two for the road

Morry LaTour, 54, who is vision-impaired and the president of the Bluegrass Council for the Blind, rode 6 miles Sunday in the second seat of a tandem bicycle, with friend Mike Galbraith in front.

"We both think it's important to advocate for safe bicycling and pedestrian activities," said Galbraith, 55.

"Besides" Galbraith said, "Morry talked me into giving him a ride."