The Hawaiian luau-themed May Day Senior Celebration kicked off at the Speed Dome in honor of May being Older Americans Month.
Buses and cars began filling the parking lot early for the celebration that started at 8 a.m. and ended around 1 p.m.
“We’ve been celebrating every year for 17 years,” said Randall H. Frost, director of the Area Agency on Aging with the East Alabama Regional Planning & Development Commission.
The Speed Dome was packed with senior citizens from Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Etowah, Randolph, Talladega, and Tallapoosa counties.
Large round tables and chairs filled two-thirds of the Speed Dome, with a dance floor area right in front of the stage.
And boy did they dance.
As the band cranked out Ike and Tina Turner’s version of “Proud Mary,” several senior citizens hit the dance floor, and some danced and sung along in their chairs.
All seniors got leis and some even sported grass skirts.
Frost said there were at least 1,500 senior citizens in attendance representing all ten counties as well as a list of vendors and nursing students from Jacksonville State University who gave health screenings for blood pressure.
“We often talk about the elderly as frail, but this celebrates the enjoyable side of aging,” Frost said. “The No. 1 priority is them having a good time.”
“They may be on a walker but they are still doing it,” he chuckled.
Frost also said these annual celebrations provide a great opportunity for senior citizens to network and socialize with others from different counties, and has been an event that many senior citizens look forward to every year.
For Annie Minnille from Randolph County, who looked very festive in her leis and grass skirt, this year marks her fifth celebration.
“I like the way everyone gets involved,” Minnille said. “I’m about 82 but I still feel like I can get out here and get around.”
The senior citizens participated in a competition that involved decorating surf boards that adorned the walls of the Speed Dome.
Seniors competed for door prizes, and had a best Hawaiian dressed contest, a dance contest, and were treated to lunch around noon.
First-timer Willord Hall from Talladega County said that he was enjoying the entertainment and having fun on the dance floor.
When asked if he would be attending next year’s celebration, Hall said “Lord willing.”
Contact Aziza Jackson at email@example.com.