The Michigan City Senior Center overflowed with mirth and music Thursday evening, as attendees from Rittenhouse, Residences at Coffee Creek, Storypoint, and other locations around the region danced the night away at the Michigan City Senior Center for the 7th Annual Senior Harvest Ball.
WIMS and WHFB Radio Owner Ric Federighi DJ’s the ball every year. He said he loves playing the mix of songs that get requested, including everything from old standards like “What a Wonderful World” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” to modern hits like “Gangnam Style” and “I’m Sexy and I Know It.”
"It's about the community,” Federighi said about what keeps him coming back year after year. “It's a heartfelt feeling when you get all these great seniors together. I love the stories that some of these folks tell."
The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Michigan City Senior Center, LaPorte County Meals on Wheels, and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
Center member Daniel ‘Brownie’ Robb looked forward to sharing dinner with his friends and watching folks enjoy themselves.
"The chef is good, and the people who put it on are fantastic," Robb said. "It's such a good time with everybody dancing."
Local celebrities, like Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer and members of the Michigan City Fire and Police forces, volunteer their dancing skills for the event. Attendees can donate a dollar to cha-cha, two-step, or waltz with their favorites.
One of the night’s busiest celebrities, Michigan City Fire Fighter Alfonso Bray, danced the night away with partner after partner. Neither his grin nor his energy faltered at any point.
“This is my third time coming,” Bray said. “I love seeing all the smiles— everyone has a great time.”
Bray won the event’s “Crowd Favorite” award, as voted on by all the other dancers and spectators.
“I love to dance,” he said, “but the smiles are what make it all worth it.”
The ball is a big hit with the community for a number of reasons, explained Michigan City Senior Center Director Tara Miller. Not only is it an opportunity for those who have lost spouses to have fun with dance partners like Bray, it’s a social event where friends can get together to visit, and a chance for married couples to take a turn around the dance floor to the music they grew up loving.
"It is one of the most popular events we have here at the senior center, if not the most popular," Miller said.
Even though the ball is well-loved and the room was packed, it’s continuing fate is up in the air, explained Miller. Organizing sponsors and logistics becomes a bigger job every year, and it’s all done by volunteers from local senior living centers on top of their full-time work.
One way to help guarantee the ball continues for years to come is to donate to the Michigan City Senior Center. Donation funds help with the costs of printing and mailing reminders, and the hours spent calling businesses to collect sponsor pledges.
Attendee Cecilia Brinckman comes to the ball every year, even though injury keeps her from hitting the dance floor. She had a blast watching everyone have a good time and relive their youth.
"It's fun," Brinckman said. "I really enjoyed myself and I loved being with my friends."
To find out more information about events happening at the Michigan City Senior Center, visit their Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/MichCitySeniorCenter, or give them a call at (219) 873-1504.