Wellstar Vinings marks major milestones with fall festival

Marquis GrissomMarquis Grissom (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

By Rebecca Gaunt

Wellstar Vinings Health Park celebrated its fifth anniversary and one million patients with a free fall festival for families Sunday.

Photo: Rebecca Gaunt

Popcorn, candy, and of course, fresh oranges and bananas, were available as snacks. Many of the attendees were decked out in costumes, including Wellstar staff members. The kids painted pumpkins, got their faces painted, played carnival games, took part in limbo and hula hooping contests, and role-played at a teddy bear health clinic.

Former Braves player Marquis Grissom signed baseballs and took photos with guests.


The event was also a goodbye for Dr. Avril Beckford, chief pediatric officer since 2009. Beckford opened her first pediatric practice nearly 30 years ago.

“Dr. B” (Avril Beckford) Photo: Rebecca Gaunt

“Dr. Beckford is everyone’s favorite pediatrician,” says Varma Rameswar, vice president of pediatric operations and health parks. “She is passionate about the children and always puts them and their parents first. Her work and the relationships she has built over the years is a valuable part of this community. Upon her departure, she will be greatly missed. We hope everyone comes and enjoys the fun festivities, which also gives people an opportunity to wish Dr. Beckford well as she transitions to retirement.”

Wellstar president and CEO Candice Saunders, introduced her to the crowd as “a longtime awe-inspiring advocate for the children.”

Photo: Rebecca Gaunt

Also known as Dr. B, Beckford came dressed as a bee.

“We take care of those little ones right from the moment they’re born,” she said. “This day is really for the children, for their parents, for their grandparents, and for the community.

Since opening in 2017, Wellstar Vinings Health Park has performed more than 8,000 procedures in the outpatient surgery center. The health park offers an array of services including primary care, specialty care, urgent care, outpatient surgery center, imaging and lab services, rehabilitation, pharmacy and a sleep center.

See more photos below (all photos by Rebecca Gaunt)

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.