This year’s St. Peter Senior Expo is upon us already and promises to please those in attendance, organizers say.
The Sept. 19 event is offering bigger and better ‘one stop shopping’ for local seniors interested in getting the most for their money, according to Gabriela Roemhildt, Assistant Recreation Program Supervisor.
“This is our ninth year hosting the Senior Expo and it has grown in both size, as well as attendance,” said Roemhildt.
This year’s theme, “Music is Timeless,” will feature guest keynote speaker, Kristin Ziemke, certified music therapist, plus entertainment by “The Rough and Tumble Band,” a husband and wife traveling band, and their dog.
“The Rough and Tumble Band played last year for one of our events and was well received.” said Roemhildt. The duo plays instruments ranging from the melodia to a penny whistle, as well as the accordion, ukelele, and a base drum suitcase.
Each year, the nonprofit committee, Boomers and Beyond, meet to develop and center each expo around a theme. Last year’s theme focused on healthy snacks and food, and next year’s expo hopes to feature a pet therapy theme.
“We are always networking to serve our area seniors better. We want to provide the opportunity for attending residents to visit area businesses and county agencies within Nicollet County that could enrich the lives of our seniors and offer a simplified place to meet as many of these agencies as possible without having to travel all over town,” said Executive Director of Ecumen St. Peter Lisa Hofferbert.
According to Hofferbert, the annual expo gives area seniors the chance to gather more information regarding their individual needs, such as housing, home care, programs at the senior center, or the hospital, and to find out what is happening with local businesses throughout St. Peter and the surrounding area.
This year’s expo will be the first time that it will host a senior craft fair, comprised of older adults making their own wares and selling them to make income benefiting other seniors.
This year’s expo will also host a large variety of vendors ranging from the St. Peter Police Department, Habitat for Humanity, the Regional Treatment Center in St. Peter, as well as the Arts Center of Saint Peter and St. Peter Food Co-op, who aim to promote the benefits of volunteering and enriching classes that they have to offer within the community.
Roehmhildt expects to find 400-plus attendees at this year’s event and promises to have a large variety of opportunities for participants to enjoy. There will be health care services, including hearing and vision testing, as well as flu shots available.
The Lions Club will be collecting used eyeglasses and hearing aids/batteries this year, and the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office will be collecting old and unused medication, a popular addition to the expo last year.
“I think this event is unique in that it is local to St. Peter area and small enough that you can get in and get out in around two hours time. I joined the Boomers & Beyond Committee this past year after having been through the expo and being so impressed with what (they) had to offer,” said Pheasant’s Ridge Director Nate Wenner.
This year’s event will also give area residents the chance to see the Minnesota River Valley Transit bus and inquire about their new hours and accessibility.
Unlike years past, this year’s event will offer registration on both sides of the gymnasium and the entire gymnasium will be open and accessible. Registered participants will be entered into drawings held throughout the day for local area giveaways, ranging from gift cards to a string of freshwater pearls donated by Stones Throw Gallery of St. Peter. Winners need not be present to win.
Hofferbert emphasized the fact that the committee has tried to keep the event intimate, focusing on what key resources are available, so as not to get lost in a huge expo. What started out as a small gathering almost a decade ago, may have grown in size and attendance, but still remains small enough for residents to find and meet each of their individual needs.