Entertainment & Lifestyle
Yuk it up at Hardesty Park May 2
4/29/2010 – West Side Leader
By Kathleen Folkerth
Local event marks World Laughter Day
WEST AKRON — Whether one giggles, snickers or hoots, laughter does a body good.
That will be exemplified at World Laughter Day, which is taking place locally at Hardesty Park May 2 at 3 p.m.
Members of the Laughing Club of Northeast Ohio, which meets every Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Cuyahoga Falls Public Library, organize the local event.
“It’s a worldwide event,” said Craig Tatton, a Kent resident and member of the club. “There’s thousands of laughing clubs all over the world, but it’s wide open as far as how you recognize the day. We keep it very simple. But there’s other groups that make it into a festival.”
Tatton said this is the fifth year for the gathering in West Akron. Club founder Carol Bailey Floyd, a West Akron resident, started the club, which initially began meeting at Hardesty Park. Eventually meetings moved to Cuyahoga Falls, which is how Tatton heard about the club.
The point of the club, and World Laughter Day, is to emphasize the health benefits of laughter, Tatton said.
“We say people, mainly adults, don’t laugh enough,” Tatton said. “Somewhere along our lifetime, we laugh less.”
The club and one-day event don’t include jokes or clowning around but instead use laughing exercises that have been developed.
“We form a circle and do exercises that either bring about fake laughter or real laughter,” Tatton said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re faking a laugh or really having a bellyroll laugh. Your body doesn’t know the difference and it will respond to either. If you just go along and do the ‘ha ha ha, ho ho ho,’ you’ll feel the benefit.”
The reason laughing is beneficial is because a body breathes properly when laughing, Tatton added. It’s also a great stress reliever, he added.
There is a science to laughing, he said. Dr. Maden Kataria, of India, created World Laughter Day and laughing clubs. In the United States, Steve Wilson, a mental health educator in Columbus, has taken up the cause and heads up the World Laughter Tour, which serves as a clearinghouse for information and news about therapeutic laughter, according to the Web site www.worldlaughtertour.com.
The Hardesty Park event will last about an hour, Tatton said.
Hardesty Park is located at 1615 W. Market St. For more information about the club or World Laughter Day, contact Floyd at 330-836-4456 or Tatton at 330-612-1944.