Helen and Bob Doebler celebrate the New Year at the Clarence Senior Center New Year's Gala.
The Clarence Senior Center found a way for senior citizens to be able ring in the New Year without having to go out on New Year’s Eve or even stay up and countdown to midnight.
A New Year’s Gala was held in the past by the Clarence Senior Center and was requested by members to bring it back. This afternoon celebration has grown since the tradition started up again and is planned to continue in the future. It was held again this year for seniors throughout the area.
“It’s a nice way to celebrate the New Year for people who don’t go out on New Year’s Eve or don’t stay up until midnight,” said Clarence Senior Center Program Coordinator Debbie Santiago.
This year, the event attracted 238 members and their guests to Salvatore’s Italian Gardens to celebrate the New Year. The gala was so well attended that Santiago has already booked the date for next year’s.
The afternoon celebration was accompanied by Sugar and Jazz for some musical entertainment. This band is made up of area high school students who play big band music.
“Everybody was blown away by this band,” said Santiago, which is why it has been the returning entertainment for that past couple of years.
The New Year’s Gala used to be a celebration with several senior centers from the area. As more members from the Clarence Senior Center attended, it broke off into its own event and has been a success ever since.
Members and their guests celebrated from noon until 4 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a sit-down meal. The cost for members to attend was $23. The senior center does fund-raising throughout the year to help cover some of the costs of events such as this one to help keep the cost low for members to attend.
To help tie in with the New Year’s celebration, the guests counted down from 10 as if they were counting down to midnight and the beginning of the New Year.
“I love this event,” said Santiago. “It gives them something to look forward to after the holiday and gives them a chance to celebrate the New Year with their friends and not have to stay up until midnight to do it.”
Santiago added that the celebration is not only held to ring in the New Year but to also celebrate the year that has past.
The Clarence Senior Center hosts several events and programs throughout the year. For more information about the center or becoming a member, visit www.clarenceseniorcenter.org. The center is located at 4600 Thompson Road, Clarence.