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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Senior Expo attracts record crowd

  • A record number of people turned out Thursday for the seventh annual Senior Expo Thursday at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.
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  • A record number of people turned out Thursday for the seventh annual Senior Expo Thursday at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.
    As of noon, Stacey Nicholas, director of RSVP, was hopeful the previous record of 570 attendees, set two years ago, would be broken.
    “Today has the ‘perfect storm’ of things to make a record crowd – good weather, people haven’t been able to get out for a while and a free activity. Hopefully we’ll pass our number,” she said.
    Thursday’s turnout was quite a change from the year before.
    “Last year at this time it was raining and Bear Creek was rising,” said Nicholas. “We got the event in and 10 hours later this building was flooded.”
    While a record number of people turned out, the number of vendors was down slightly from 2013.
    “Last year we had a record high of 80. Seventy is about our normal,” said Nicholas. “We have a nice mix of vendors and activities for people to enjoy.”
    Among the vendors in attendance was the Marion County Ambulance District, which was providing free blood pressure checks, glucose screenings and handing out File for Life items on which pertinent medical information can be written and then attached to a refrigerator for first responders to find and utilize if they’re ever called to an individual’s home.
    The Expo attracted first-time attendees Elizabeth Brinkley and Beth White.
    “I’m here just to see what it was like,” said Brinkley, who was accompanied by her husband, Ralph.
    “I came to get information on the various things that will help the senior citizens,” said White. “I like it.”
    A regular at the Expo is Henry Robertson, who came down from Palmyra.
    “The last couple of years I’ve come down and talked to them (vendors), got my blood pressure checked and visited with some people I haven’t seen in a while,” he said.
    Robertson reported his blood pressure is OK.
    “It was good for an old guy. They said I was pretty healthy and whatever I was doing to keep doing it,” he said with a smile.
    Nicholas was not surprised that newcomers and returnees made up the crowd.
    “The best advertising we get is word of mouth,” she said. “You’d be surprised how many people say, ‘I was here last year, but I brought my friend this year.’ That works out really well.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Also continuing to work out well is the partnership between the Hannibal Parks and Recreation, RSVP at Douglass Community Services, NECAC, Experience Works, the Marion and Ralls County Health Departments, and NEILS.
    “Six groups come together, pool their resources and their energy to make this happen,” said Nicholas. “This is what I think Northeast Missouri is about. No one group can do it all, so we pool our resources and make a great time.
    “I’m very, very grateful for our vendors, for the people who come and the community groups that make this happen. For me, it’s the heart of Northeast Missouri, people working together. That’s important.”
     
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