Annual picnic attracts county’s seniors

COLUMBIANA – The 16th annual Shelby County Senior Picnic was held at the Shelby County Exhibition Center from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 26.

According to Shelby County Community Services Manager Reggie Holloway, the Senior Picnic serves as a way for the county to honor its residents over the age of 55.

“It really is about recognizing all of the seniors that are so dear to us,” Holloway said.

For many senior adults, Holloway said the Senior Picnic offered free food, free entertainment and fellowship. Each guest was also eligible to win door prizes throughout the event.

“It really energizes our seniors,” Holloway said. “It gives them something to look forward to each year.”

This is the second year that the Senior Picnic has been held at the Exhibition Center. Holloway said it had previously been held at various outdoor locations, and was moved last year due to bad weather. He said it was a lucky coincidence that it rained the second year, as well.

“They liked it so much last year that they wanted to come back,” Holloway said.

Holloway said Senior Picnics in past years have featured live entertainment, and this is the first year that the University of Montevallo’s musical theater and music departments have been a part of the event.

“We try to do something every year, and they’re right here in our own back yards,” Holloway said. “We’re very excited about having the University of Montevallo’s performing arts here.”

One of the picnic’s organizers, Marvin Copes, said vendors were onsite to educate seniors about different products and services that could benefit them.

“This gives them an opportunity to look at a lot of things that they might not have thought of before,” Copes said.

According to Holloway, at least 500 senior adults attended this year’s picnic. Holloway said there would likely have been more attendees if not for the heavy rainstorm that hit that day.

Virgie Nicholson, who came with her church’s senior ministry group, said the Senior Picnic has been a long-standing tradition of hers for several years.

“I like going around and visiting all of the different booths,” Nicholson said. “We’ve come the past several years, and we’ve really enjoyed it. It looks like there’s a lot of people and a lot of vendors. It looks like it’s going to be a great day.

Chelsea Citizens Observer Patrol member Mike Cooley said he took a bus to the Senior Picnic with other senior adults from Chelsea and Westover. He said he especially enjoyed the food and the chance to reconnect with old friends.

“The bus ride is half the fun sometimes,” Cooley said. “I’ve run into a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while from different parts of the county.”

Holloway expressed his gratitude to the many volunteers and vendors that made the 2018 Senior Picnic possible.

“They made it all come together for us,” Holloway said.