Those headed for the 33rd annual Senior Games at the Carmichaels School District on Tuesday, June 18 are in for a special treat.
While competing against fellow participants ages 50 and up from Greene, Washington and Fayette County as well as parts of the Mon Valley, participants will be able to revisit a colorful era and an event that made a significant impact on the history of rock and roll: Woodstock, a three-day, outdoor celebration of music that featured 32 acts on a pastoral farm in upstate New York.
“We’ve themed this year’s Senior Games to Woodstock, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year,” said Nancy Riggle, Greene County supervisor for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Agency on Aging. “The concept has really caught on and everyone here is reminiscing and remembering what it was like back in 1969.”
As of June 6, 100 people registered to participate in the games (bocce ball, horseshoes, basketball throw, putting, corn bag toss, football throw, a one-mile walk, 50 yard dash, softball throw, stationary bike and shuffleboard). although another week remained before the registration closed today, June 14.
“Those who didn’t register can still participate in the games, although we prefer that they did so before hand,” Riggle said.
To spur memories, the plan is to mount a series of posters, a collage of different images from the late 60s that include everything from the Vietnam War and Moon Landing to American Bandstand, Saturday morning cartoons and sports teams of the era.
“The posters will be displayed in the high school gymnasium and corridors in the hope that people will gather around and start talking to one another about Woodstock and the late 1960s,” Riggle said.
The posters were made by the agency staff, some at home, some when they had the time at the office. Riggle said, considering the enormity of the project, everyone was surprised by how well it came together.
“It was a labor of love,” she said.
After the games, the posters will move to the Carmichaels/Cumberland Township Fire Department Social Hall, 420 West Greene Street, where they will be displayed as decorations for the Senior Games’s awards banquet on Thursday, June 27. The doors to the banquet will open at 4 p.m. and the cost of the dinner is $20.
During the Senior Games, the Parade of Athletes, which follows the 9 a.m. opening ceremony, will include eight vintage cars from the late 60s, courtesy of Charlie Riggs of Waynesburg and the Legends Car Club. Weather permitting the cars will remain on display outdoors.
The Carmichaels American Legion Post 400 band will perform at the opening ceremony and stage the Call to Arms flag ceremony. Throughout the day John Koval, a disc jockey from Washington, will air songs of the Woodstock era, and, for a contrasting sound, accordionist Mike Milinovich of Waynesburg, an agency volunteer, will add a bit of polka to the mix. Games attendees will also have a chance to have their caricature drawn for free by artist Jeffrey Harris of Washington.
Students from Carmichaels High School made a Volkswagon Hippie Bus out of wood, which attendees can put their head through and have their photo taken as though they were a passenger headed for Woodstock. Students also created a DVD of memory clips from the era that run the gamut from TV programs and advertisements to clips from the news and shows that made the 60s generation laugh. The DVD will loop throughout the day in the cafeteria, where the door prize drawing will take place at 2:30 p.m.
Even this year’s logo has a Woodstock theme: a circle that incorporates a Woodstock bird and a peace sign. The rough draft of the logo was designed by the Games’s task force with the finishing touches made by the agency’s communications department.
“We felt the logo lent itself to a sticker, so we decided to give everyone who attends one of their own,” Riggle said.
People who may not want to participate in the games may watch from the sidelines at no cost and take advantage of the information available from the 50 or so vendors in the Health and Wellness Fair located inside the main entrance to the elementary school, where food vendors will sell items in the cafeteria. Outside, WAMB radio will broadcast for two hours.
In addition to having a chance to play Super Bingo, attendees can get free screenings and health and nutritional information. A free shuttle service will transport attendees from the parking lot to the various events and locations.
“I can’t thank enough the Carmichaels School District staff and its students for their support and enthusiasm to make the day extra special,” Riggle said. “The games have something for everyone, and the task force tries to make it a fun event. Last year we had more than 700 participants, and we’re expecting even more this year.”
For more information, phone the Southwestern Pennsylvania Agency on Aging at 724-852-1510.