- Written by Megan Joyce Megan Joyce
The waiting crowd accumulated inside Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim on a recent morning in late September, as hundreds of baby boomers, seniors, and caregivers lined up for the start of the 21st annual Lancaster County 50plus EXPO.
The free, one-day event, which provided information and resources for the area’s 50+ community, was co-hosted by OLP Events and the Lancaster County Office of Aging.
More than 100 exhibitors displayed products and services in travel, housing, medical services, nutrition, home improvements, finances, and healthcare.
“We do this every year. We just feel it’s important for the community to come out,” Megan Herr, manager of clinical operations with Regional Gi, a supporting sponsor of the EXPO, said. “We get to answer a lot of questions for their health and why it’s important to get colonoscopies.”
Visitors were eligible for door prizes and took advantage of additional free health screenings for blood pressure, glucose, varicose veins, balance, spinal health, hearing, and others. Pharmacists from Kmart administered flu shots.
Lorraine Allison, of Lancaster, made Kmart’s booth her first stop.
“They have the higher-dose [vaccine] for seniors. It’s an advantage,” Allison said. “I enjoy these [EXPOs] a lot. It’s a social thing; I see a lot of friends.”
Waiting lists became necessary as guests signed up for manicures and chair massages from students of Lancaster School of Cosmetology.
The EXPO’s main-stage entertainment offerings began with a cake-decorating demonstration by Alixe Hemerly, owner of The Flour Child bakery in Columbia. Hemerly’s multilayered creation featured buttercream icing with watercolor and gold-leaf effects.
Costumed actors from Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre performed songs from their fall lineup of shows, such as “Not Fade Away” and “Peggy Sue” from The Buddy Holly Story.
Tina Jackson, Medicare sales representative with Health Partners Plans, encouraged audience members to consider their many options during Medicare’s upcoming annual enrollment period.
“Always look at your network,” Jackson said. “Visit everybody. Talk to everybody. Secondly, check out the formulary. That’s where your list of medicines are.”
Despite the day’s summerlike heat, Jodie Morris, garden center manager with Stauffers of Kissel Hill, displayed options for fall container gardens and offered suggestions for helping outdoor plants and flowers weather the seasonal transition.
Finally, Jerry Mitchell, education and outreach specialist with the Office of Attorney General, spoke to the EXPO’s guests on how to protect themselves against fraud and financial exploitation, especially scams that target older adults.
David Fernandez, of Lancaster, looked at his time spent at the 50plus EXPO as an investment in his future well-being.
“I’ve been hearing about these EXPOs for a couple years, and … you’re at that age, and you want to know what’s available for you out there,” Fernandez said.
“You’re getting older every day, and you’ve got to start preparing for the long haul. I wanted to become more educated on what’s available for me.”
OLP Events’ next 50plus EXPO will be Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Carlisle Expo Center, 100 K St., Carlisle. For more information, call (717) 285-1350 or visit www.50plusExpoPA.com.