Gala Event

By Vernice Shostal

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The fifth annual 50+ Active Living Celebration took place at Pearkes Recreation Centre in Victoria on March 5, highlighting colourful displays, toe-tapping music, singing, dancing, and a highly charged motivational presentation.

The celebration is hosted by Senior Living magazine and helps kick off Embrace Aging Month, an initiative of the Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation. The event offers a full day of activities and entertainment with interactive demonstrations and exhibits by senior-focused businesses and organizations. Over 70 displays included massages, reiki, jewelry, musicians, tours, authors, artists, financial advice, social opportunities, retail, pharmaceuticals, care homes, hobbies such as philately and model trains, genealogical society, yummy treats, on-site antique appraisals by *Senior Living* columnist Michael Rice and much more.

First time Ive come to something like this, said a 54-year-old Esquimalt woman. Im looking at things specifically for my elderly parents. The music is lovely. Everything is well done.

Duncan resident and author Suzanne Anderson was also a first-timer. I didnt realize how big this was. Im really impressed with this show, both the displays and the entertainment are phenomenal.

Accordionist Mary Ross began the entertainment portion of the gala event with lively renditions of Scottish, Irish and German music followed by the Victoria Ballroom Dance Society that boasted 783 members at the end of last year.

For the second year in a row, the energetic MToni Malaika Marimba Band played their traditional South African music, which they seemed to enjoy as much as the audience.

The Gypsy Rovers, Grandview Trio, Dixie Land Dudes and Vic OBrien (vocals and guitar) offered traditional songs that sent visitors back in time. The Village Squires, led by music teacher Renee Michele Walrafen, is a chapter of the time-honoured barbershop Harmony Society, an international organization of male singers that boasts more than 30,000 members worldwide.

Motivational speaker Vic Lindal spoke on Adult Adventure Deficit Disorder, a disease caused by procrastination. The former coach of Canadas National Womens Volleyball team talked about PET scans in brain research, which revealed that certain parts of the brain that lit up when a group of people was learning to play the piano were the same parts of the brain that lit up when a control group only visualized playing the piano.

Visualize with an end point, said Vic, citing golfer Jack Nicklaus as an example of someone who visualizes his game. We create our own reality and we walk into the future we hold in our visualization. You have to get a picture of what it is you want to do.

The last performance by the Victoria Old Time Sequence Dancers ended with an invitation for audience participation. The only requirement, the audience was told, were two left feet.

Buses from Port Alberni, Courtenay, Campbell River and points in between brought visitors to Victoria for the day. Weve been to every booth, said Dolores Hill, a repeat visitor from Courtenay. We learned a lot and saw a lot of good stuff.

An added bonus was a chance to win a seven-night Alaskan Cruise for two, offered by Cruise Holidays Pacific in partnership with Celebrity Cruises. The winner, J. M. Stewart of Victoria, will be travelling in an Ocean View cabin onboard the *Celebrity Mercury* on September 5.

Senior Living Magazine Publisher Barbara Risto welcomed and thanked participants, sponsors and guests, while columnist Pat Nichol emceed the event.

We are very pleased with the response to this year's festival, said Barbara. Once again, we had every booth filled and a steady stream of visitors from start to finish. I was approached near the end of the event by a couple who said they had never been to the festival before - they had been there since 11 a.m. and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. It is gratifying to hear this kind of feedback and know we have done our job well.



Special Thanks To:

Saanich Municipality; Venue Sponsor
Alexander Mackie; $2,000 Cash Sponsorship
Bayshore Home Care; $2,000 Cash Sponsorship
Cruise Holidays Pacific & Celebrity Cruises; Alaska Cruise Give-Away
Pacific Audio Works; Services Discount
Island Tents; Services Discount 
Volunteers, including Saanich Volunteers
McAllister Media; Event Organizers 
CFAX; Promotional Discount
Times Colonist; Promotional Discount 
Pat Nichol; MC of Celebration
Fotoprint; Donation to the Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation from printing costs associated with the Celebration
Celebration Performers
Business & 50 + Exhibitors

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