Gallery: Plano kicks off its first Rec Fest in conjunction with the It's Time Texas Community Challenge

Photos and social media posts are used to gain points in the Its Time Texas Community Challenge. The crowd gathered at the Rec Fest kickoff for a selfie to gain 15,000 points for Plano. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Photos and social media posts are used to gain points in the Its Time Texas Community Challenge. The crowd gathered at the Rec Fest kickoff for a selfie to gain 15,000 points for Plano. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Photos and social media posts are used to gain points in the Its Time Texas Community Challenge. The crowd gathered at the Rec Fest kickoff for a selfie to gain 15,000 points for Plano. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Mayor Harry LaRosiliere spoke to the crowd at the beginning of the event, noting Plano's wins against Fort Worth in previous years of the health challenge. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Ron Smith, assistant director of the Plano Parks and Recreation Department, introduced the mayor before drawing the first raffle winner of the night for a free annual membership to Plano Parks and Recreation. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Yoga instructor Roberts Speaks leads visitors in stretches and warmups alongside Mayor Harry LaRosiliere before teaching a free yoga class. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Speaks encourages the group to roll their shoulders as part of the warmup. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Plano City Council Member Lily Bao takes part in the free yoga class hosted at the Carpenter Park Recreation Center as part of the Rec Fest on Jan. 9. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Katie Xu, five, gets a unicorn painted on her hand in the kids area of the Rec Fest kickoff event at Carpenter Park Recreation Center. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Guests mixed with visitors on the courts at Carpenter Park Recreation Center during the Rec Fest kickoff event, where guests were encouraged to take a look around and try out a sport for the night. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plano Parks and Recreation kicked off its first-ever Rec Fest at Carpenter Park Recreation Center on Jan. 9.

The event will last three days and includes free classes, fitness demonstrations, vendors and opportunities to visit with personal trainers as well as raffles for Parks and Recreation memberships, among other prizes. Various health screenings and nutrition information will also be available at each recreation center.

Rec Fest aims to encourage more residents to take part in the It’s Time Texas Community Challenge and to learn more about healthy living in Plano, according to the city's website. The challenge is a statewide competition for participants to gain the most points from tracking fitness activity by uploading photos of themselves working out on their own or in groups.

Those participating can upload photos from Jan. 6 until March 1 to gain points for their community. As of Jan. 9, there are 385 communities involved in the challenge and more than 11,000 registered users.

Communities that take part in the challenge are broken down by size and the winner of each category receives a cash prize to put toward a community health project. Plano sits in third place as of Jan. 9 in the large sized community category.


Mayor Harry LaRosiliere spoke at the event kickoff before helping lead those present in warm ups and stretches. LaRosiliere wanted to see nothing less than first place from Plano after beating larger cities like Fort Worth in the past, he said.

“This is just a fun way for us to get engaged as the year starts, and we kind of do a reset,” LaRosiliere said. “Whether it be exercising or walking the dog for an extra 10 to 15 minutes—taking a walk around the neighborhood after a meal on a beautiful day like today. Those are all ways you can earn points and have a healthier lifestyle and—and help us with this challenge.”

Ron Smith, assistant director of the Parks and Recreation Department, introduced the mayor and drew the first raffle prize of the event. Council members Lily Bao and Maria Tu attended the event, as well as City Manager Mark Israelson and Deputy City Manager Greg Rushin.

More details on the Rec Fest events can be found online, as well as more information about the It’s Time Texas Community Challenge.
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By Liesbeth Powers

Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano, including education and transportation.


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