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DHS News Newsletter May 2009 

DHS hosts inaugural Senior Celebration in the Park

May 2009

Many older adults were treated to an extraordinary day thanks to an amazing and coordinated effort at the inaugural “Senior Celebration in the Park” held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on May 21 at the South Park Fairgrounds. More than 2,500 older adults, in fact, were on hand to celebrate Older Americans Month, which was first proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

The theme for Older Americans Month 2009 is “Living Today for a Better Tomorrow.” In keeping with this theme, Senior Celebration in the Park featured presentations and activities that emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Events included health screenings, a healthy cooking demonstration with WQED’s Chris Fennimore, and a healthy snacks demonstration by Atria Senior Living.

“We value older adults as one of our greatest assets here in Allegheny County,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. “We are grateful for the vitality that seniors bring to our community. The Senior Celebration is the perfect opportunity to thank older adults for their contributions.”

There were also numerous activities, including nature walks, dancing, games, prizes and giveaways. Participants completed BINGO cards by visiting at least 13 of the 89 vendors invited to promote their products and services. Completed cards earned their holder an extra chance to win a vendor-donated gift. Live entertainment was provided by The Rick Purcell Band featuring Shari Richards, Blue Box Seven, OASIS Chorus, Umoja African Arts Company, Tuesday Musical Group, and Roland Ford Line Dancing.

“We are very excited about this opportunity, not only to present information about the programs and services available in Allegheny County, but also to offer this information in a fun and entertaining setting,” said DHS Director Marc Cherna prior to the event.

Wholesome and healthy morning refreshments and box lunches were available at no cost to attendees. ACCESS Transportation provided free rides from 61 area senior centers to the event, and free shuttles were available to transport seniors to all of the various exhibits and activities. 

Senior Celebration in the Park was made possible through the generosity of Highmark; the DHS Area Agency on Aging; the County’s departments of parks, public works and special events, and the Senior Celebration planning committee. Ondréa Burton, Communications Specialist, DHS Office of Community Relations chaired the planning committee and coordinated the celebration.

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