Brighton Mayor Greg Mills is all about moving.
No, he’s not moving on with his career. And he’s not moving to another part of town.
Moving, as in walking, especially if Latin food is involved.
He’s getting in as much walking as he can these days, including on a recent sunny, but cool, Saturday morning at Carmichael Park. He joined folks who gathered to celebrate local culture at the Sazon Food Festival.
“I learned about the event last year when I went out of town to a conference,” the mayor told the Brighton Standard-Blade. “I thought it would be great to bring a healthy way to get out into the public and walk with people and talk about what is important to them.”
And so he did.
Mills is part of a national campaign involving mayors across the country. It’s called Move with the Mayor. Mills said he came to encourage locals to exercise to reduce the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Mills appears to be one of the few, if not only, mayors in Mountain West states participating, according to a map from the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stoke Prevention, which advocates for the walking program.
Mills’ stepped up effort on Sept. 23 at Carmichael Park inspired some fancy footwork from Brighton residents, including avowed walker Allan Fredenburg.
“I like to exercise daily because it keeps me in better shape,” Fredenburg said. “In May, my knees were hurting a lot, and I started walking more, and my knees hurt less.”
And after a good walk comes the next good thing: lunch. The mayor, Fredenburg and others hit the buffet and long tables at the food festival, hosted by the Hispanic Restaurant Association.
The festival was crowded with families sampling roasted corn, a variety of delicious salsas, grilled chicken, pork and more, all with tortillas and rice and beans. And, if the mayor’s pre-walking wasn’t enough, there was plenty of dancing to the music of Las Mensareros Marichi. Children played games as others strolled to check out the array of vendors displaying products and exhibits of Latin contemporary art representing cultural and traditional history and stories.
It is the first time the city, in partnership with the restaurant association, hosted a food festival.
“It has been magnificent and welcoming,” said John Jaramillo, president of the Hispanic Restaurant Association. “It’s about celebrating our community and the Latin culture, cuisine, the chef, the restaurant tours to the back of the house.”