It almost seems as though 2018 is meant to be the year that we try some new happenings at the Senior Citizen Center!

April found us experiencing our first annual "Spring" One-Stop-Shopping Event, and it was successful, so that has now been added to our calendar for next spring.

Friday, Aug. 17 will find us with yet another new adventure — a "carnival" theme family fun night! Kingston of Ashland is the sponsor for this event, and will do so as a Fundraiser for our Senior Center. Simple food items will be available ala carte, while there will be fun games and prizes and more!

Our fun will begin at 4:30 p.m., and we will have games and prizes for all age groups, Face Painting (painted arm tattoos) and a Balloon Artist! A cotton candy machine and a popcorn machine will also be included in the evening’s events. These particular activities will be offered through a multi-ticket purchase, where participants will pay for their selected activity with tickets!

Beginning at 6 p.m., as we prepare for the close of our Carnival, a Cake Walk (18 and up) and a Cupcake Walk (under 18) with prizes will be offered at a per-walk ticket purchase. How long has it been since you have participated in a cake walk? And if you have never participated in one, they are fun!

We are hopeful this carnival theme will bring back some special memories and that you will want to join us, along with your family and friends, for a memorable, inexpensive and fun time at the Senior Center! We do ask that you take note that all participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Oh, yes, this information is about a month early, but this just gives you an opportunity to mark your calendar, join us for the fun and reminisce with a walk down memory lane, while making some new memories!

For those of you interested in the Chautauqua programs, you are invited to our Senior Center today, July 17 at 3 p.m. for the Chautauqua Summer Workshop — John Anderson's "The Creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore. This workshop would relate how the Cape Cod National Seashore was established and signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, exploring for context the history of the National Park Service and how Henry Beston’s The Outermost House influenced the preservation of Cape Cod. Refreshing root beer floats will be available for purchase while enjoying this presentation.

Earlier this year we had a gentleman donate a few of his mother’s quilts for a raffle to benefit our Center. Tickets were sold for two smaller quilts and the winners were Lora McClain and Donna Landis. Another quilt raffle for a larger quilt will begin in September with ticket sales ending in early December.

Bargains in the Belfry, our thrift-shop, is open with lots of bargains, for your shopping pleasure Monday thru Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with donations being accepted only those days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Haven’t visited our nice clean and well organized shop? Why not include us in your plans to come in and see all the great items available for sale at very reasonable prices!

Our chair caning volunteers have been busy participating in caning demonstrations beginning at the Ashland County Historical Society Ice Cream Social (July 1); the Chatham Township Bicentennial Celebration (July 14); the Medina County Fair (Aug. 3); the Wayne County Fair (Sept. 11); and with plans in place for Ladies’ Day at the Ashland County Fair (Sept. 19). This is a lost art and attracts many people to observe the work of our faithful volunteers! As a matter of fact, if you are responsible for a program with your group, you may wish to contact our Center and invite the chair caners for a special hands-on experience!

One-day-bus trips through our Senior Center remain popular, as we try to offer a wide variety of events. Maybe you like shows, museums or manufacturing tours to see how things are formed or put together to complete an item. We use the motor coach services of All-Ways Charter Bus Service, located right here in Ashland County. Oh, and one very important aspect of our trips that is well-noted among our travelers, "we always have good food"! We actually have some travelers that hop aboard simply to enjoy the dining experience! Sound interesting?

Check out our list of trips below and make your inquiries Monday thru Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Senior Center, located at 615 W. Tenth St. Phone inquiries can be made to 419-289-7745, but you must pay for the trip when making your reservations. Co-Managers, Sharon and Nancy will be delighted to speak with you about our trips or any of the Center happenings, or even take you on a tour of the Center!

The remainder of the trips planned for 2018 include:

Thursday, July 19 travel will take us to Washington, PA for a buffet dinner at The Springhouse before our visit to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum along with a ride on an old-fashion trolley. Mehlman’s Cafeteria at St. Clairsville will be our food stop on the return trip home!

Thursday, Aug. 2, we are off to enjoy a Lunch Cruise on the Victorian Princess at Erie, Pa. After our cruise we will then enjoy a 15-minute orientation film and a self-guided tour of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) to include the view of the area from the TREC glass-enclosed Observation Tower; and take in the showing of "Earthflight"—a totally immersive experience taking the audience on an incredible flight across the world on the wings of birds!Take a ride into the past at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum! Imagine a Museum where visitors are actually encouraged to touch the exhibits and ride in them too! We are a lot more than a trolley ride; our museum guides will put the trolley in its historical context, and explain what life was like 50-100 years ago. Admission includes 4-mile scenic trolley rides, exhibits, guided tour, theater, museum store and picnic area. Free parking.

Attending the Mark Lowry Show at the Ohio Star Theater (Sugarcreek) with dinner at Chalet in the Valley before the Show is on our agenda for Friday, Aug. 31.

Thursday, Sept. 13 will be spent with travels to the Columbus area with a tour of the Motts Military Museum, lunch at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, the Topiary Garden (weather permitting) and our last stop of this day at the Ohio History Center/Museum.

Ohio’s foremost Showman, Ron Retzer, along with vocalists, Jennifer Galownia and Bob Wolfe, will be bringing an exciting new show of the "Sounds of the Sixties" following a hearty, family-style lunch featuring chicken, roast beef and all the trimmings, at the Plain City Der Dutchman on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Piqua will be the destination of our trip on Thursday, Oct. 18, as we partake of a behind the scenes tour and sample Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees, followed by lunch and a tour of Hartzell Propellors to complete our day.

Thursday, Nov. 1, we will attend the musical, "Stolen" at the Ohio Star Theater, followed by dinner at the Amish Door Restaurant.

Our last trip, scheduled for 2018 will be Tuesday, Dec. 4, as we travel to the Plain City Der Dutchman to once again enjoy a family-style lunch and a musical program, "The Spirit of Christmas" with The Taylors.

Our trips, including the reservation closing dates, are first advertised to our members in our newsletter, the Golden Age Lantern and then are advertised for anyone to join us. You do not need to be a member of our Center or even a senior citizen to travel along with us. If you want to be one of the first to know where we are going and what we are doing, perhaps you’d like to consider joining the Center to receive the trip information first-hand! Our Annual membership fees remain at $12, and while membership age is considered 55 years of age and older, at the same annual fee of $12 per person we also offer an associates membership if you are less than 55.

There is still half of the summer left to join in our many activities open to the public and the many more activities available to our members. Our Monday lunches and programs, card playing and our Golden Serenaders practice and entertainment in and around the community are all weekly events and could add to your leisure time. Our ever-popular Swiss steak dinners will resume on Friday, Sept. 14 and our 16th Annual One-Stop-Shopping will be Saturday, Oct. 27! Remember, they say active seniors are healthier and happier individuals! Stop in and plan to join us! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Becky Echelberger is president of Senior Citizens of Ashland County.