Outdoor recreation classes drawing crowds in Wilson

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As “Down, down, do your dance, do your dance” boomed from the stereo, Selena Taylor and a group of residents grooved to the beat Thursday as whirligigs spun overhead.

“Now let me see ya do that dance,” Taylor said, echoing the singer of the Cupid Shuffle.

Line Dancing with the City was among several Wilson recreation classes held recently in area parks as participants and instructors alike enjoyed the spring temperatures.

“We have seen an increase in our fitness class participation because people have seen it going on in the parks and liked it so much they’ve come back to the normal class times,” said Braxton Patterson, Wilson recreation programs and marketing supervisor. “It’s not been a large increase, but we usually get a few new participants due to the classes being outside due to social media coverage, newspaper pictures and word of mouth.”

Patterson said the idea started with Pilates in the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and grew from there.

“I thought it would be fun for our other inside classes to take field trips to our parks,” he said.

During Thursday’s class, there were several passersby who joined in for a dance or two as Taylor gave directions.

“The Vollis Simpson stage and grassy lawn are perfect for our dance classes because some of the participants along with the instructors get the feel of performing and gain the value of exercise with the view of the spinning whirligigs all around them,” Patterson said. “The new shelter at Greater Wilson Rotary Park was a perfect spot for our senior adult fitness class due to the shade, fans along with a place to do chair exercises in which our senior adult fitness class uses every class.”

Patterson said between Zumba, line dancing and the fitness class, participants seem to enjoy getting outdoors during May and October.

“The instructors and I like doing the classes when it’s warm but not so hot,” he added.

The next outdoor class will be line dancing at 6:15 p.m. on June 10 at the Greater Wilson Rotary Park. The class is open to all ages and is $3 to attend. Visit tinyurl.com/yykylant or call 252-399-2266 for more information about recreation classes.

Patterson said the city also is adding a summer Aquathon at 9 a.m. June 15 in the outdoor pool at Recreation Park. The Aquathon is usually held inside in the fall, but officials opted to add an outdoor event this year.

“We have also noticed that not only do our participants get to exercise in an outdoor setting, the fitness classes have provided more awareness to our citizens that Wilson has some great parks that offer many activities,” Patterson concluded.