SUNBURY — Modeled after the annual National Night Out, the Northumberland County Area Agency on Aging recently hosted a Senior Day Out health and wellness event at the Shikellamy State Park.

About three dozen vendors participated in the event, which doubled as a picnic and wellness fair. It was a first for the county agency, which was marking its 50th anniversary.

“Around the 1972 flood, there was money given from FEMA to the county to help the devastation for older adults,” agency administrator Karen Leonovich said. “We provided meals, we assisted with cleaning up properties, out of that became the Northumberland County Agency on Aging. Today’s our 50th and we decided we wanted to celebrate with a big picnic and health fair for the seniors. We have games, we have food and we have the health care part.”

The event felt like a success and opens the door to potential future events, she said.

“This is our first event here, and if it goes well we want to do it again in the future,” Leonovich said. “It’s been well attended and the vendors were very excited about it because they haven’t done any health fairs in a while.”

Leonovich said many of the activities, programs and events the region’s Agency on Aging handles have been on hold during the pandemic. Slowly they are coming back.

Ken Dunkelberger attended Thursday’s anniversary event and was glad to see so many faces as he collected information and freebies along the way.

“I took a friend of mine around and she got some free goodies,” the Sunbury resident said “It’s nice to see all the faces. It’s camaraderie, you know. A lot of people you don’t know will help you. I’ll keep coming, it’s interesting.”

Kim McCarty, a community program specialist for 65 Forward GMC, said the event fit right into what Geisinger’s clinics for older patients do.

“This is perfect,” she said. “This is our whole demographic. We will definitely be back here, even just doing the fun activities. It’s what we do, you’ve got to do what they want.”

The program also gave Geisinger’s 65 Forward program — with nine locations including Milton, Shamokin Dam and Shamokin/Coal Township — an opportunity to expand its patient base.

“It’s a lot of word of mouth,” McCarty said. “They are more apt to listen to a friend who has a good experience.”

Charlene France, of Milton, brought a friend to the event, and appreciated the location and meeting some new people.

“It’s always nice to get out and see people and talk,” she said. “It’s nice to have at the park.”

; it’s always nice to be by the river.

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