The 13th Senior Expo reflected Hannibal's bicentennial at the American Legion Post #55 with a record number of vendors and hundreds of visitors stopping by after wet weather prompted a location change.
Initial plans called for the 2019 Senior Expo to be held at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center, but water in the parking lot and forecasts of more rainfall brought about the relocation. A record 86 area vendors were on hand, representing services and resources including heath care, financial services, community outreach, local retailers and residential care providers. The 2019 Senior Expo was underwritten by North East Independent Living Solutions (NEILS) and sponsored by Hannibal Parks & Recreation, RSVP at Douglass Community Services, NECAC and the Marion County and Ralls County Health Departments.
Stacey Nicholas, director of Community Outreach Initiatives with Douglass Community Services, said that visitor attendance was a bit lower than in past years due to the relocation and recent weather, but a steady stream of people visited the booths right up until the event closed at 1 p.m. The first 200 visitors received a gift bag from the Hannibal Bicentennial Committee and the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"Most of our clients come from Hannibal, and we wanted to get them in the spirit of celebrating the 200th birthday of the city," Nicholas said.
She said that Mary Lynne Richards, marketing director and recreation supervisor with Hannibal Parks and Recreation, announced that "Pinocchio" will be featured at the Movies in the Park event during Hannibal's Bicentennial Year. Clif Edwards, who was born in Hannibal, provided the voice for Jiminy Cricket and was also famous performing as "Ukulele Ike."
At each booth, guests talked with vendors about the local resources they offered. Mke Crager, head coach at Rock Steady Boxing in Monroe City, talked with several visitors about the no-contact boxing therapy to slow the progression of Parkinson's Disease. At the ABILITIES booth, Human Resources/Marketing Manager Erin Watts talked about the various programs and services the organization provides and talked about the Smile-A-Mile Buddy Walk, which raises awareness and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome and other "ABILITIES." The event will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11 at Central Park. She said the Senior Expo was a valuable asset for the community.
"It was a great turnout today," Watts said. "It's exciting to see the senior citizens of the community come together."
Bob Sergent entered a raffle for a box of English toffee at the B & S Insurance booth after he renewed his membership with Sam's Club. He expressed his gratitude for everyone involved in the Senior Expo.
"It's nice seeing that people care," Sergent said.