CINCINNATI — Names like World Cup champion Abby Wambach, entrepreneur and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen and self-made businesswoman Bethenny Frankel are among the list of health-minded celebrities set to visit Cincinnati this September as part of the annual Kroger Wellness Festival.

What You Need To Know

  • A reimagined Kroger Wellness Festival returns to downtown Cincinnati in late September

  • World Cup champion Abby Wambach, entrepreneur and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen and self-made businesswoman Bethenny Frankel are among the notable list of participants

  • The two-day event brings together leading experts in food, exercise, medicine and mental health panel discussions and demonstrations

  • The event also features entertainment such as a soccer clinic and concerts by Eli Young Band and Fitz and The Tantrums

Since debuting in 2018, the two-day health and wellness festival has brought in leading experts in food, exercise, medicine and mental health for a jam-packed schedule of panel discussions, demonstrations and other programming.

This year’s event is no different. So far, there are more than 60 panel discussions, food demonstrations and musical performances scheduled between Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24, at The Banks in downtown Cincinnati.

Award-winning country music group Eli Young Band is set to headline a concert early Friday night. Multi-platinum band Fitz and The Tantrums take the stage Saturday afternoon.

Last year’s headliner was singer-songwriter Jewel.

“The Wellness Festival will provide a variety of interactive healthy opportunities for the entire family,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, the health care division of Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. “We are pleased that athletes and celebrities will join us as we create an environment where the community can be inspired to take a step forward in their wellness journey.”

Soccer legend Abby Wambach headlines the 2022 Kroger Wellness Festival in Cincinnati. (Photo courtesy of The Kroger Co.)
Soccer legend Abby Wambach headlines the 2022 Kroger Wellness Festival in Cincinnati. (Photo courtesy of The Kroger Co.)

Both days of wellness expo call for full lineups of activity from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. taking place across four stages. Each session focuses on at least one of Kroger Wellness’ six core pillars of transformation: balance, move, breathe, care, uplift and play. 

This year’s headliner is Wambach, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup Champion for the U.S. Women’s National Team. On Friday morning, she kicks off the event with a moderated conversation and Q&A session. A public meet and greet to follow. 

Later that day, Teigen — author of New York Times bestseller, “Cravings: Recipes for All of the Food You Want to Eat” — hosts a 30-min cooking segment and fireside chat alongside her mother, Pepper Teigen, a best-selling cookbook author and Food Network star.

At 3:15 p.m. Friday, Frankel — a reality TV star-turned-businesswoman — shares her approach to “fearlessly leading with her gut, embracing being a “multi-hyphenate woman and laying a foundation for greatness through investing in her wellness,” according to a statement from Kroger Wellness.

On Saturday, Grammy winner Carrie Underwood hosts a workout demonstration with her trainer. Dominique Dawes, a key part of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team during the 1996 Olympics, will talk to teens about helping them build confidence.

Plans also call local talent, including:

  • Folk singer Tracy Walker

  • Britney Ruby Miller, CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

  • Chef Christian Gill of The Culinary Gang

  • Olympic gold medalist Mary Wineberg

  • 2021 Flying Pig Marathon Champion Alex Gold

  • Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

  • Players and coaches from FC Cincinnati and Cincinnati Sirens soccer teams

  • University of Cincinnati coaches, athletes cheer and dance teams

The free event will also feature a play area for kids of all ages. The family fun activities include a rock-climbing wall, a kid-friendly ninja course and more. 

The event started in 2018 as The Wellness Your Way Festival. It was a collaboration between Jewel, Inclusion Companies and Kroger. Jewel called the Queen City the logical host site given the fact it’s Kroger’s home base.

This latest edition festival is reimagined, the event website reads, to “feed your mind, body and spirit, with extra helpings of support from experts in nutrition, fitness, health and beauty care.” The overall goal, Kroger said, is to provide “resources for holistic well-being.”

A breakdown of some of the schedule highlights is below. More information about the Kroger Wellness Festival is available online.

Friday, Sept. 23

Johnson & Johnson Stage 

11:00 a.m. — Abby Wambach takes part in a moderated conversation and public Q&A session. A public meet and greet follows.

4:30 p.m. — UC Bearcat coaches, athletes, band, cheerleaders and dance team host a pep rally to get the crowd ready for game day Saturday.

5:00 p.m. — Eli Young Band concert. 


1:00 p.m. — Mind Over Matter Live!: Peloton’s Ally Love will host a session aimed at finding what it means to be fully present. 

2:00 p.m. — Becoming a Foodtrepreneur: Hear stories and advice from powerhouse food founders and how they found success. It features Kyle Cooke, TV personality and founder of Loverboy.

3:15 p.m. — Down to Business: Bethany Frankel shares her approach to fearlessly leading with her gut, embracing being a “multi-hyphenate woman” and laying a foundation for greatness through investing in her wellness. 

Laura’s Lean Food as Medicine Stage

12:30 p.m. — Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen and Gatorade President and GM Mike Del Pozzo will face off in a battle to make the best use of rescued food in recognition of Hunger Action Month.  

2:00 p.m. — Chef’s Shortcuts: Chef and award-winning restaurateur Brian Malarky shares tips to “hack it in the kitchen,” making even the most daunting of foods easy to create. 

3:15 p.m. — Food of the African Diaspora: Learn how food intertwines the cultures of people in the African diaspora and understand African culinary influences on the history of America. It features Woodrow Keown, Jr. and Christian Gill, local celebrity chef and owner of Boomtown Biscuits.

4:00 p.m. — Spice It Up with Pepper Teigen: Pepper Teigen whips up playful twists on Thai classics alongside her daughter, Chrissy.

American Greetings Good Vibes Stage

11:30 a.m. — Britney Ruby Miller and Paaras Parker, chief human resources officer of Paycor, discuss how organizations are adapting to make wellness the forefront of the employee experience. 

12:00 p.m. — What the Healthcare?!: Local medical officials discuss the future of healthcare and health innovation. It features Dr. Marc R. Watkins, chief medical officer Kroger Health, and Deborah Hayes, president and chief executive officer, The Christ Hospital Health Network.

1:00 p.m. — Honoring Hispanic Heritage: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with discussion on food, culture and movement featuring Dr. Maria Espinola, a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist, Odayme Quesada, MD, Christ Hospital, and Ashley Martinez, a Kroger dietitian.

Saturday, Sept. 24  

Johnson & Johnson Stage

11:00 a.m. — FC Cincinnati and Cincinnati Sirens soccer clinic.

12:30 p.m. — Bend and Snap: A dance cardio workout led by Dance Factory Fitness and a cool down with Anchor Wellness.

1:30 p.m. — Urban Agriculture: Learn about #AgNoireDay and how groups are working to increase the number of Black growers and other business owners who can be part of the supply chain for produce throughout the state. It features Cincinnati City Council member Mark Jeffreys, Carlton R. Collins of EDUC8 The World, and Mortar Cincinnati CEO Allen Woods. 

4:00 p.m. — Sound Off Silent Disco: Guests can choose their own dance party with three playlists and one big movement.


12:30 p.m. — Mission Tiger 20 Yard Dash: Local Olympic sprinter Mary Wineberg and Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger announce the winners of Mission Tiger, a program aimed at helping to fund school sport programs. 

2:30 p.m. — GRAMMY® Award-winning superstar Carrie Underwood with BODYARMOR and her trainer Eve Overland host a 30-minute cardio blast.

4:00 p.m. — Fitz and The Tantrums concert.

6:00 p.m. — On Your Mark: Marathon 101: Learn the basics with 2021 Flying Pig Marathon Champion Alex Gold and “The Bachelor” star and fitness enthusiast Matt James. 

Laura’s Lean Food as Medicine Stage

2:15 p.m. — 30-minute Mind-Blowing Meals with Home Chef: Explore easy-to-make dishes with Metropole Chef Vanessa Miller and Kiss 107.1 FMs JonJon. 

4:30 p.m. — Smooth Moves Smoothie Demo: Matt James returns to the stage to make his signature Vita Coco Smoothie.  

5:00 p.m. — Sense of Teen Confidence: Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes and Kids Baking Challenge Star Lucia Cologne host a discussion on growing up healthy and joyful. 

American Greetings Good Vibes Stage

12:30 p.m. — Mental Health + The Media: Megan Mitchell, TikTok’s 2022 Class of LGBTQ+ Trailblazers, hosts a discussion on exploring tips to develop healthy social media hygiene for better quality of life. 

3:30 p.m. — Resilience + Recovery: Dr. Marc Watkins and panelists discuss how personal healing can empower others to heal, together. 

5:30 p.m. — Able + Ready: Redefining Disabilities: Allison Warrell is a bodybuilder, trainer, entrepreneur. She’s also a little person with achondroplasia dwarfism. She shares how she works to defy odds every day to pursue the healthy life of her dreams. 

6:15 p.m. — Food as Medicine: Colleen Lindholz and Brian Malarky discuss how a dedicated, educated, and personalized approach to eating and enjoying food can prevent illness and lead to healthier lives.