DECATUR — Seniorama is a highlight for those like Lori Camac and her sister Carol Beck, who have been coming for years.
Camac is 57 years old. "You start getting stuff in the mail from AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) when you are about to turn 50,” she said.
On Friday, they checked out booths and nabbed freebies during the annual exhibitor fair held at the Civic Center.
“We got some pens, stylists, and all of the free stuff,” said Beck, 65.
This marks the 30th year the Decatur Civic Center has hosted Seniorama. “We are the second generation of seniors,” said Chris Brodnicki, general manager.
To celebrate the anniversary, organizers added extra prizes, including bingo cash winnings and a Branson trip through Timi’s Tours.
More than 80 vendors were on hand.
Sarah Butts, Decatur Civic Center marketing and events manager, said the event becomes more popular each year. “Besides all of the free stuff that they get, they are getting out to get all this information,” she said. “This is one place they can get both hospitals, rehab, assisted living, information on any type of senior activities. It’s all health-related, plus it’s fun.”
“Seniors are serious about getting information,” Brodnicki said.
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Seniors are not the only Seniorama visitors looking for advice and help. “They are bringing their kids,” Butts said.
Information was available from the typical senior vendors, such as Social Security, insurance companies, nursing facilities and hearing aid businesses.
Bill Hogg, 62, greeted visitors as they approached the Salvation Army table. “We do a senior program once a month on the fourth Friday of the month,” he said.
The volunteers have hosted a talent show, entertainment events, holiday parties and game nights.
The Salvation Army’s location in the northeast corner of the Civic Center during Seniorama made the agency a popular stop for many. “It’s a good spot for us,” he said.
Other vendors were more unique to a senior audience. Teri Walton explained what Decatur Underground Theatre has to offer for this generation. “So many people are unaware of the different activities,” she said. “We are a different outlet.”
The theater group offers plays and activities throughout the year. One of the upcoming shows includes “All Shook Up” on Nov. 8 through 17, at the civic center. The DUT cast and producers also organize blacklight bingo games and chicken dinners.
Seniors are an important generation for the Decatur Park District. With health being the focus of the annual event, the booth was a popular stop. The Silver Sneakers program as well as other all other activities were highlighted by the staff.
“We have lots of things to keep everyone active,” said Tracy Hewitt, group fitness director at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center. “It’s a community of people to hang out with.”