Senior citizens and children enjoyed the 77th annual Southeast Arkansas District Fair Livestock Show and Rodeo Thursday, with performances, games and health information.
Betty Bradshaw, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Agency of Southeast Arkansas, began bringing the senior citizens to the fair 16 years ago. She estimated this year attracted 1,500 to 2,000 senior citizens, the largest such turnout. She credited volunteers for providing entertainment and security.
“This is a function for the seniors to have something to do in the daytime to enjoy themselves,” Bradshaw said. “They feel safer in the daytime.”
They enjoyed drinks, games, ring toss, a fishing game, a simulation of milking cows and a host of other activities. The fair featured representatives from nursing homes, governmental agencies, banks, the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services, the Pine Bluff Police Department, housing agencies and other organizations. The senior citizens received free services from nurses who measured blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol checks.
Ron Boston, a complex manager at the Area Agency on Agency of Southeast Arkansas, brought clients to the fair and took in the activities. During a break in action, he played a basketball free-throw game.
“We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the fair,” Boston said.
Shirley Reginelli, a resident of Lake Village, accompanied friends and played a beanbag toss game.
Carol Hayes, a community relations and Medicare counselor of the Area Agency on Agency, oversaw a host of activities. She said seniors came from DeWitt, Lake Village, Monticello, Sheridan and other communities in 11 counties.
Chastyne Hopkins, an employee of Twinkle Little Totz Day Care, watched little children as they scampered about. They played games and explored the sights and sounds, interacted with clowns and ate snacks.
Bobby Beverly of McGehee smiled and checked out the exhibits.
“I am enjoying myself,” Beverly said. “I will be back next year if God is willing.”
Many people gathered in the rodeo arena and watched Doug Scallion. He sang and grooved to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Elvis Presley’s “Ain’t Nothing like a Hound Dog.” Many people danced, sang and clapped to the lively show.
Dorothy Carter, a resident of Trinity Village in Pine Bluff, smiled and took in the festivities. She relaxed in the shade and enjoyed temperatures in the upper 60s.
“We went through the crafts,” Carter said. “I have [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and I cannot be out in the hot weather. I really enjoy it out here.”
Carter enjoyed a senior citizen resident of a nursing home who danced, too.
The Cummins Prison Band played “Mustang Sally.”
Frances Brazil and Dee Bradley came on their own accord.
“We are good friends,” Brazil said. “Everyone has been nice.”
“We’ve had a blast,” Bradley said.