Folks enjoy old-school summer festival

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

More than 70 seniors enjoyed lunch, games and raffle prizes Wednesday at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront for the second annual Senior Summer Festival held by Parks and Recreation and sponsored by United Healthcare.

Residents ages 55 and older signed up for an afternoon with $1,000 in play money to try their hand at blackjack, roulette and craps and cash out to choose from a wide assortment of prizes. They danced to the DJ’s soundtrack and enjoyed gourmet meals served by kitchen staff with plenty of dessert.

“It’s something extra for all these citizens from the area, and it’s not just Suffolk,” said Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Emily Upton. “We’ve got citizens from Franklin and Isle of Wight as well. It’s just a great way to bring the active adults together for an afternoon.”

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Elizabeth Newby was certainly active with her raffle tickets on Wednesday. She actually won back-to-back prizes, including a decorative blue throw blanket.

“I’ve never done that before,” Newby said with a smile.

Attendees tested their wits in Pictionary and word scrambles. Some got up to stand beside the DJs and be the first to identify classic songs by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and other greats from decades past.

Joyce Strong of Suffolk won her prize by naming four out of the five songs, nailing some of them after just a few bars. She recalled dancing to those same songs when she was younger.

“That’s all from my era,” she said.

Martha Giles and Mary Worrell were the last two remaining in a game of hot potato with a plush red heart. Both women frantically traded the stuffed heart back and forth. The person holding it when the music stopped would be out.

Worrell was victorious in the final few seconds.

“I kept expecting the music to run out on me,” she laughed.