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A parade to say hello

Seniors in Suffolk took part in a drive-through parade to sport their favorite team and say hello to friends they had not seen in months.

Sponsored by Suffolk Parks and Recreation and held Sept. 23 at the Whaleyville Recreation Center, seniors were encouraged to decorate their cars or wear a hat, game jersey, face paint or face mask to represent their favorite professional, college or high school teams.

Parks and Recreation has not had its senior program since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the second week of March, so this event was a chance to see everyone in a safe manner.

“This is something so we can say we miss you,” said Janice Myrick, a recreation specialist for the senior program at Parks and Recreation. “This is the first event with the seniors since COVID shut the program down. We just want to snap a picture, say hi and be able to see them.”

The Parks and Recreation crew had a table out front to welcome the participants as they drove through. Each car got a game day goodie bag and the chance to quickly catch up with the staff they have not seen in a few months.

“The seniors have been so excited about this,” said Myrick. “They were lined up at 10 this morning, ready to go. They were waving at us and blowing their horns.”

The seniors 55-and-up drove through, and anyone could join, even if they were not a member. The Whaleyville Recreation Center is one of the locations that offer seniors activities to be a part of regularly.

“Right now, the center is only open for the fitness center and game room,” Myrick said. “The seniors can go inside to play pool or exercise, but they don’t have the chance to sit down, eat lunch, and socialize like they used to.”

Any seniors who missed out shouldn’t worry. A second drive-through parade will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Sept. 30 at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 South 6th St. The theme will also be their favorite sports team.

To become a senior program member for only $5 per year, visit a center to sign up. Anyone with questions can call 757-514-4500.