November 29, 2014

Vermont seniors celebrate Mardi Gras

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By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Mardi Gras arrived early in Vermont at this year's 50+ Expo on Saturday, Jan. 26. The New Orleans-themed festival brought in people from across the state, with live music, dancing and the annual fashion show. The expo, now in it's 13th year, features entertainment and informational materials geared toward Vermont's over 50 crowd.

"I come mostly every year," said Jerri Lane of Burlington. "I love to see the fashion show. I get to see all my friends, too."

The party lasted all day long at Burlington's Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center. In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme, Notch Above Tours, one of the event's sponsors, was giving away a trip for two to New Orleans. The company's booth was always busy with people signing up for a free chance to win.

"The expo brings great awareness for us," said Bernie Juskiewisz, a tour guide for the company.

Notch Above tours offers guided trips all over the East Coast, as well as to Montreal and Quebec City.

Around 2,000 people attended this year's event, which was produced by Paul and Marianne Apfelbaum, publishers of the Williston Observer and The Charlotte Citizen newspapers, and Boom Times and Vermont Maturity magazines.

"We had a tremendous turnout, and it was the first year we really incorporated baby boomers into the show," Marianne Apfelbaum said.

For instance, one seminar, hosted by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, highlighted ways to save for children and grandchildren's college tuitions.

"We saw a lot of new faces. It was one of the biggest shows ever," Marianne Apfelbaum said.

One of those first timers, Butch Gandin and his wife, Judy, of Ryegate, both in their 50s, had to come to Burlington for the day and decided to check out the event.

"I feel like I'm too young to be here," Butch said with a laugh, adding that both he and his wife were having fun checking out the informational booths.

Gov. Jim Douglas, in helping to kick off the fashion show, talked about how important it was for the state to have events geared towards seniors. Addressing the issue of Vermont's aging population, Douglas said that he couldn't think of "a more important event for the future of Vermont."

"Year after year, this is always so much fun," he said later, while speaking with the Observer. "It brings a lot of people together for the day. I'm running into people I haven't seen in a long time."

The fashion show drew a large crowd upstairs in the Emerald Ballroom, where models over age 50 showcased everything from formal wear to evening wear to casual wear. The clothes were fashions from stores at the University Mall, one of the event's sponsors. When one model walked out dressed in a Patriots jersey, the audience cheered in approval.

Crowds also gathered around the Home Instead Senior Care booth, where community service representative Karen Koechlein had brought a Nintendo Wii gaming system and large television to show it off. Bowling was the popular game, with show attendees taking turns with the controller.

"I think this is great," said Roland Smith, 70, the only person willing to reveal his age in the over-50 crowd.

"It's good exercise, I'll tell you that," said Smith, who bowled a spare on his second try.

Koechlein says she brings the Wii around to senior centers in the area, which has become very popular with older gamers.

"It's wonderful for mind/eye coordination," she said, adding that it's "sort of a nice activity to break the winter blues."

Downstairs, there were different seminars running every hour, with subjects ranging from health tips for people over 65 to solutions for addressing sleep problems. There was also live music from a local band, the Cassarino Jazz Trio.

Marianne Apfelbaum said that they received lots of positive feedback regarding the show and that the Mardi Gras theme was a hit.

"Next year, we're going to have a Fiesta theme, which we're really excited about," she said.

The 2009 Vermont 50+ and Baby Boomer Expo is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009 at the Sheraton-Burlington. Call 802-872-9000 x18 for more information. Subhead: New Orleans Mardi Gras festival this year's theme

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Mardi Gras arrived early in Vermont at this year's 50+ Expo on Saturday, Jan. 26. The New Orleans-themed festival brought in people from across the state, with live music, dancing and the annual fashion show. The expo, now in it's 13th year, features entertainment and informational materials geared toward Vermont's over 50 crowd.

"I come mostly every year," said Jerri Lane of Burlington. "I love to see the fashion show. I get to see all my friends, too."

The party lasted all day long at Burlington's Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center. In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme, Notch Above Tours, one of the event's sponsors, was giving away a trip for two to New Orleans. The company's booth was always busy with people signing up for a free chance to win.

"The expo brings great awareness for us," said Bernie Juskiewisz, a tour guide for the company.

Notch Above tours offers guided trips all over the East Coast, as well as to Montreal and Quebec City.

Around 2,000 people attended this year's event, which was produced by Paul and Marianne Apfelbaum, publishers of the Williston Observer and Charlotte Citizen newspapers, and Boom Times and Vermont Maturity magazines.

"It was a tremendous turnout, and the first year we really incorporated baby boomers into the show," said Marianne Apfelbaum said. "We saw a lot of new faces. It was one of the biggest shows ever."

One of those first timers, Butch Gandin and his wife Judy of Ryegate, both in their 50s, had to come to Burlington for the day and decided to check out the event.

"I feel like I'm too young to be here," Butch said with a laugh, adding that both he and his wife were having fun checking out the informational booths.

Gov. Jim Douglas, in helping to kick off the fashion show, talked about how important it was for the state to have events geared towards seniors. Addressing the issue of Vermont's aging population, Douglas said that he couldn't think of "a more important event for the future of Vermont."

"Year after year, this is always so much fun," he said later, while speaking with the Observer. "It's brings a lot of people together for the day. I'm running into people I haven't seen in a long time."

The fashion show drew a large crowd upstairs in the Emerald Ballroom, where models over age 50 showcased everything from formal wear to evening wear to casual wear. The clothes were fashions from stores at the University Mall, one of the event's sponsors. When one model walked out dressed in a Patriots jersey, the audience cheered in approval.

Crowds also gathered around the Home Instead Senior Care booth, where community service representative Karen Koechlein had brought a Nintendo Wii gaming system and large television to show it off. Bowling was the popular game, with show attendees taking turns with the controller.

"I think this is great," said Roland Smith, 70, the only person willing to reveal his age in the over-50 crowds.

"It's good exercise, I'll tell you that," said Smith, who bowled a spare on his second try.  

Koechlein says she brings the Wii around to senior centers in the area, which has become very popular with older gamers.

"It's wonderful for mind/eye coordination," she said, adding that it's "sort of a nice activity to break the winter blues."

Downstairs, there were different seminars running every hour, with subjects ranging from health tips for people over 65 to solutions for addressing sleep problems. There was also live music from a local band, the Cassarino Jazz Trio.

Marianne Apfelbaum said that they received lots of positive feedback regarding the show and that the Mardi Gras theme was a hit.

"Next year, we're going to have a Fiesta theme, which we're really excited about," she said.

The 2009 Vermont 50+ and Baby Boomer Expo is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009 at the Sheraton-Burlington. Call 802-872-9000 x18 for more information.

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