Virginia David waited anxiously for her date to come calling. For the third year in a row, Dennis Ferguson appeared with a wrist corsage to escort her to a well known Half Moon Bay event – Seniors’ Night Out. Dennis and his wife Carol brought Virginia and June Smith to this annual dinner party dressed in their snazziest western gear.
On Thursday night, put on the 22nd Annual Seniors’ Night Out at the . This year’s theme was “The Old West.” Everybody came in costume for a wonderful dinner prepared by Senior Coastsiders’ chef John Yengich. Yengich normally prepares meals for the senior lunch program and Meals on Wheels, approximately 80-90 meals five days a week of which 40 are home delivered. For this event he pulled out all the stops with fresh crab, short ribs, scalloped potatoes, greens, veggies and a cinnamon crème-topped apple galette for dessert for a large crowd of 160 enthusiastic patrons.
“Every year is wonderful. This is really something!” said ,who also earned notoriety for being the oldest person in attendance. Born in Princeton at the harbor in 1911, Pacini, who will turn 100 later this year and enjoys knitting baby sweaters and reading. She just might be the person who has lived on the Coastside the very longest. “I always come with the same guy”, she said with a grin, pointing to her neighbor.
The tables were decorated cheerfully, and lots of volunteers helped, including Jessie Thomas, age 16, who was doing his community service for as a table waiter and enjoying himself. This year professional photographer offered her services to take couple and group photos with a backdrop. Costello said people told her it felt just like a prom. Many community sponsors and volunteers helped make this event possible.
Cara Schmaljohn, the Executive Director of Senior Coastsiders, said that every year the organization seeks volunteers from the community who would like to take a senior to this event. The volunteer pays for dinner for his or her “date,” picks the “date” up and brings them home afterwards. She sees it as a way to make seniors, who are often overlooked in the community, visible to their neighbors. Many ongoing friendships have sprung from this event over the years.
Several other senior groups are also invited. Seton Coastside had two tables of lively guests. Three Bells and Cedar Lane, both senior facilities in Montara, each brought residents. Individuals from the also were enjoying the evening, including John Kohler, who looked very festive in a lime green bandanna.
Collene Meador brought her date, Dorothy Coverdell, who she met through taking an exercise class together at the community center. Sandy Osher, who works in the social services department at Seton Coastside exchanged gunfire with her date, Jim Jenson, courtesy of the toy water pistols on each table.
Lively entertainment was introduced by emcee Robert Zadek. Mark Heath and Robbie McDonald sang some fast picking bluegrass tunes. Next Diane Burns, Bob Peterson and Mo Robinson played guitars and sang old country favorites.
Senior Coastsiders was founded in 1977 to provide services for seniors on the Coast. Since then it has grown into a nurturing community with a wide array of services from classes, hot meals, home repairs, care management, grief groups, a thrift shop, and much more. This year’s Seniors’ Night Out was another unique experience among many offered by Senior Coastsiders to local residents.