Fun for all! Us Weekly hosted the kickoff party for the 4th Annual Kroger Wellness Experience, which began on Friday, August 20, alongside cofounder Jewel.
The welcome entrance, which featured an Inspiration Lounge sponsored by American Greetings gave guests giant greeting cards upon their arrival. Attendees could then share a message with healthcare workers in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, which was the host city for the event.
The Grammy winner, 47, was one of many special guests in attendance. She was joined by the CEO of Kettering Health, Fred Manchur, and former Bachelor Matt James.
“I wanted to begin a festival to help educate others on eating well, and teaching others to advocate for themselves. I wanted to help others by teaching them, that good mental and emotional hygiene was an option, which set me out on a mission in life to get those skills,” Jewel said during her welcome speech, alongside Kroger Health president Colleen Lindholz and Scott Hays, the president of Kroger’s Cincinnati Dayton division. “I have never used my fame to get a table at a restaurant. I have used it to get ahold of experts in the medical, nutritional and mental health fields to learn to better advocate for myself.”
The “My Father’s Daughter” singer continued: “I often say misery is an equal opportunist. It doesn’t care what race, color or creed you are, or if you are the CEO of a very successful company. You can be wildly famous and rich, be poor, if you were not raised in a healthy functioning system, it doesn’t matter, what your socioeconomic background is, once it breaks down you need a new tool to be educated. That requires education, and sadly, education makes money. Happiness can be elite — I find that absolutely unacceptable.”
Us Weekly’s wellness expert Nikki Walter was also at the event where she chatted with James, 29, about building a community in wellness. The season 25 Bachelor lead told Walter that he understands the “importance” of celebrities, including Naomi Osaka, creating mental health breaks in a culturally appropriate way.
Kroger’s Wellness Experience, which lasted two days, focused on health, nutrition, active and inspiration zones, featuring health food companies, cooking demonstrations, workouts, and panels.
Throughout the event, Kroger dietitians and local chefs provided demonstrations of healthy life hacks. While Us’ wellness expert emceed the Food Is Medicine tent sponsored by Laura’s Lean, Kellogg’s president Chris Hood and Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen battled it out in a chili cook-off.
Cheryl Burke was also present at the Inspire Lounge for most of her panel discussions, one of which was titled, “Depression Hacks.” Eliot Sloan of Blessid Union of Souls told Us about the therapeutic abilities music can bring into one’s life after he took the stage to perform on the first night. Quinn XCII brought energy and enthusiasm to the crowd once he took the stage.
Jewel and Lindholz kicked off the Saturday, August 22, festivities with a Women of Wellness — Women Founders Brunch. They were joined by Saksworks president Amy Nelson, Morgan Angelique Owens, and Lucrecer of Soul Sista Plants.
Us opened the Food Is Medicine stage on Saturday following the female-driven brunch. There was a chia pudding presentation for eventgoers to attend with and Abbott dietitians. Next up was a session sponsored by GoFit. Walter then led a session on breathing, qigong, guided meditation, and sound healing in the Meditation Tent along the river. Each attendee left with their personal roller.
Influencer Summer McKeen, who attended the weekend with her mom and friends, later chatted with Us about her company Keen On and creating a community for music lovers. The festival entertainment ended with Willie Jones and RaeLynn, who showed her baby bump to the crowd.
The annual festival has become the heart and soul to give back, educate and provide everyone with the tools they need to create a life of fulfillment no matter what the situation. This celebrity-led event sets the bar not only for just wellness, food, health and mental health, but it shows at the end of the day, if we are not using our gifts to help lift, inspire, connect and give hope, the fame, influence and fortune mean nothing without helping others rise.
The mission of the weekend is to acknowledge that by taking time to smile, listen, or introduce someone to a person who could help another, you are setting an example for inspiration, giving someone the tools they need to create a life they dream.
Scroll down to see some of the highlights from Kroger’s Wellness Experience: