Outdoor fitness classes, health-related author talks and healthy food truck options have become popular fare as Larkin Square has ramped up its wellness offerings during the last six years. Visitors welcome better weather with free use of Hula-Hoops, pickleball courts and a mini-golf course in the revitalized neighborhood several blocks east of downtown.
Larkin Square leaders have decided to launch their most popular outdoor season this year with a new, one-day celebration, Larkin Moves, which will start at 6 a.m. Wednesday with a fitness obstacle course and conclude in the evening with outdoor fitness classes, the Gay 5K and an afterparty.
"This was a natural evolution from the fitness things we like to do," said Leslie Zemsky, “director of fun” at Larkin Square. She hatched the idea with help from Bridget Schaefer, director of hospitality at the Square, and their small events team.
The Independent Health Fitness in the Parks program – which starts Thursday and runs through Aug. 25 in almost two dozen parks across the region – was a key inspiration for Larking Moves. Larkin Square has participated in the program for several years and its weekly cardio kickboxing class starts for the season at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Fitness in the Parks programs are free – as well all the Larkin Moves events on Wednesday, except the Gay 5K. All are welcome.
Schaefer outlined the Larkin Moves highlights, all of which will either take place or start on or near the Larkin Square boardwalk, 745 Seneca St.:
- The November Project – which leads a cardio and strength class at 6 a.m. Wednesdays year round, usually starting on the back steps of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery – will next week instead put visitors through the paces at a Larkinville neighborhood obstacle course.
- Kelly Tripp, an instructor at Evolation Yoga, will lead a Vinyasa flow class at noon.
- A fitness festival, which will include vendors, healthy food trucks and Fitness in the Parks sessions, will start at 4:30 p.m.
- Instructors from Revolution indoor cycling will lead an outdoor body fit class at 5:30 .m.
- Love in Motion Yoga instructors will lead a sunset yoga class about 6:45 p.m.
- The Gay 5K, part of Buffalo Pride Week, has moved its race from the Chippewa District to Larkinville this year. The race will start at 7 p.m. at the Larkinville Filling Station. Preregister at buffalopridefestival.com/Events/Run or before the race.
- An afterparty featuring music and dancing – and open to all – will follow the run and yoga class, and include music and dancing.
Those wishing to participate in a yoga class should bring a mat.
KeyBank, which along with Independent Health is sponsoring Larkin Moves, will offer "financial wellness" information as part of the event.
"Wellness comes from food, getting fit and having fun," Zemsky said. "People in Buffalo love being active, and outside."