Over 50 crowd knows how to party

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hula skirts, leis and flower-trimmed straw hats were in evidence at Sherling Lake Park on Thursday as senior citizens from across the tri-county area assembled in Greenville.

The special occasion was Older Americans Day and the theme for this year’s annual &uot;picnic in the park&uot; was &uot;Hawaiian Luau&uot;. Bingo and other games, singing and fellowshipping together were all part of the day under Pavilion #1.

The senior centers from Georgiana, Highland Home and Fort Deposit were invited to join the Greenville Senior Nutrition Center for today’s event, which has become a popular tradition in the city.

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&uot;I couldn’t tell you exactly when we started having this event; it's been several years. We started it with our Greenville center," explained Mary Braden, director of Senior Services for the City of Greenville.

"Then people started hearing about the 'Greenville Picnic' and thought it sounded like so much fun, so we started inviting people from the other communities to join us. And it is one of their favorite outings," Braden added.

Local hula girls Mavis Sawyer and Gladys Gregory, decked out in their grass skirts and beachcomber hats, served as greeters for all the guests, presenting each person with a colorful lei.

Members of the Georgiana Nutrition Center served as entertainment for the day with Marie Braswell as the keyboard player and the Rev. Tom Roberson leading with his deep bass voice.

Hymnals were handed out and Georgiana Senior Center Director Mary Wallace encouraged "to join in and sing, ya'll!"

Jeddo Bell, Jean Taylor, Shirley McCrory, Irene Sankey, Ulean Weathers, the Rev. Clifton Tillman, Delilah Roberson, Cory Stinson, Willie and Hattie Bradley, Liler Mackie, Jimmy Rhodes and Emma Averett were just some of those who harmonized on such gospel classics as "I'll Fly Away", "Precious Memories" and "Just a Little Talk with Jesus".

The local representative to the "Silver-Haired Legislature", Fred Thompson, also spoke briefly to the crowd about the efforts being made to keep programs such as the Senior RX Program in place for senior citizens in the state.

Cathy Brown, site manager for the Greenville Nutrition Center, asked everyone to join hands and sang "Amazing Grace" before sitting down to enjoy grilled hot dogs, baked beans, cole slaw, Little Debbie treats and fruit for their picnic lunch under the shady pavilion.

"The weather has been great, we had a good turn out –

it's been a good day," said Braden.