KUDOS: BBQ blast proves City of Pickering is a great place for all ages!

A late summer BBQ for the 55+ crowd had them hopping, dancing, singing cheering with the energy and enthusiasm of a younger bunch. A super event!

Ya should have been there!

It was a blast! A party! An outstanding BBQ!

City of Pickering put on a party and hundreds came, over 300 older adults, 55+ to the George Ashe Community Centre. This is ‘real community.’ Hundreds of locals coming out to socialize, eat, laugh, sing and dance on a sunny September afternoon.

The visitors had the opportunity to see the products and services available from vendors who specialize in the needs of older people. The event was a ‘hand and glove’ production: vendors, the City of Pickering, city committees, and public service providers coming together fully to offer the seniors who attended a wonderful afternoon of information, entertainment and good eats.

The list of products vendors and providers of service for seniors was a long one, everything from head to toe, hearing aids to sleep sox. A lot was available.

Councillor Maurice Brenner, representing Mayor Ryan, welcomed all the visitors on behalf of the City. Again, acknowledgement and recognition are due to behind the scenes City staff executive working with seniors, Sharon Milton, and George Ashe Centre Events and Activities administrator, Andrea Dufresne.

This astute crowd knew that showing up early was the right thing to do. They started lining up an hour before the noontime opening. They knew this was going to be an event. And were they right!

City of Pickering is demonstrating it really cares about its older citizens. It has committees committed to improvements, accessibility and services for seniors. It has staff dedicated to working for the benefit of this demographic. The city uses older volunteers to assist and advise in these endeavours and it puts on events focused on better ageing. The Expo BBQ is a great example of the success the city is having in its commitment to this work.

Needless to say, many City staff were involved in the preparation, planning and production of this event: the special services City staff on the New Horizon’s Grant for Seniors committee, the City of Pickering – Community Services Team, and the volunteer “55+ Seniors Advisory Committee.” The George Ashe centre staff deserves a tip of the hat too. There is so much to do, from legwork to custodial work, all of which was done with great dedication, motivation and commitment by every staff member with the goal of making the event a success. It was! They succeeded!  These people deserve all the applause, praise and recognition we can give them. They gave us a great event and we thank all of you.

Once the guests had ample opportunity to meander through the vendors’ tables and see the products and services available to this particular crowd, a local caterer laid out an outstanding outdoor buffet and what a wonderful buffet, good old-fashioned summertime BBQ fare: hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, desserts, fresh fruit trays and lemonade. The crowd chowed down at tablecloth-covered picnic tables under a clear sunny sky that tanned anyone seated outside. A perfect late summer day.

Then the live entertainment, Pauly and the Goodfellas,  boomed out the music, rock and roll hits from the 50’s and 60’s, channelling Rick Nelson, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, the Beach Boys, pounding out the hits of the Rolling Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival and Chicago and much more. The crowd loved it. They cheered and shouted. They sang and danced and the local band, in perfect sync with this particular crowd, encouraged them with their energizing rhythms. They were a smash.

Those who could, danced like teenagers that they were years ago. Those who couldn’t, sang with gusto as they tapped out syncopated rhythms to the musical beat on the arms of their walkers and service chairs. The spirit of the event was irresistible and the crowd joined in with energy, engagement and tremendous enthusiasm. It was an event that even the younger support staff found mesmerizing as they watched the older crowd rock and dance away as they had in younger days. The band was fabulous, the crowd outstanding!

This was an event of fun, happiness and joy. Every participant walked away with a little more skip in their step for the day. Everyone behind the scenes stood taller gratified that they helped produce a great day for a lot of Pickering folks.

This was an event that will be the talk of many dinner tables for a long time. Next year…hard to predict. But one thing for sure, City of Pickering really cares about its older population.

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