Seniors enjoy the 2nd annual Senior Shindig at the Strawberry Festival

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Bingo was a crowd favorite at this year’s Senior Shindig at the Strawberry Festival on Friday. The Strawberry Festival goes on from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. today, Saturday, May 5, 2018. (Nick Griffin for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – This year’s Senior Shindig took center stage at the Strawberry Festival Friday, starting with live music from The Cadillacs at 10 and the first 300 seniors taking a seat and enjoying a free lunch at 11.

Just before the third annual Seniors Got Talent Show, awards were given out for oldest female, oldest male, oldest veteran and oldest couple. Ima Jean Turner took home oldest female honor, at a spry 91 years old. Herbert Banks was awarded two honors, oldest male and oldest veteran, at a young 93. The oldest couple honor went to Dorris and Arnold Brisco, 66 years married.

Mark McBride took home the $100 grand prize after his vocal performance in the talent show. Bo and Mary Ellen Hartness took second place and a $50 prize, and Jolene Hamnick was awarded third place and $25. This year’s strawberry bucket winner, taking home 105 strawberries, was Shirley Sewell

Director of the Cullman County Commission on Aging, Dusty Baker, said he made it a priority when he came in as director to work more closely with the city in order to boost the Senior Shindig event as well as add a new feature onto the existing Strawberry Festival.

“This is our second annual Senior Shindig at the Strawberry Festival and that’s because we were always competing for the same weekend, and when I got appointed to my position I was focused on the relationships between the county and city working together,” Baker said. “So, we came together and decided to put on one big show. It’s always been a loyal following and it’s always been one of our biggest events, but since we combined with the Strawberry Festival it’s doubled our attendance. There’s vendors everywhere and everybody wants to be involved so it’s just a great event for us.”

Baker is excited to see how big the Senior Shindig has become, but said he knows that by continuing to work together, the community can do even more for its seniors.

“We’re very blessed to have people in office that care about the seniors in the community and we act as a bridge between the commission and the Mayors Association (Cullman County Mayors and Commissioners Association) and everybody involved to the citizens. If we can be that bridge and show them that they care about them, they’ll make resources available for us to support our seniors and have the most active seniors in the state of Alabama, that’s what it’s all about.”

The Strawberry Festival kicks off at 7 a.m. today, Saturday, May 5 at the Festhalle and Depot Park in downtown Cullman. There will be live music, games, rides, arts and crafts and, of course, loads of mouth-watering Cullman County strawberries and strawberry treats. The event lasts until 9 p.m. and is free to attend.

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