Rose Bullano lost her eyesight eight years ago from macular degeneration, but that doesn’t stop her from remembering or enjoying all of the music she’s ever learned to perform.

The 87-year-old was in her glory Friday when she and a group of bell ringers performed at the Senior Expo at Cascade Park. The annual event was sponsored by state Sen. Elder Vogel.

The expo, designed to provide seniors with an abundance of fun, information, food, prizes and giveaways, was attended by more than 700 people.

The oppressive heat and humidity didn’t keep people away. The place was standing room only at one point during the morning as people crowded into the non-air conditioned ballroom and made their way from stand to stand, visiting a total of about 70 booths sponsored by agencies, organizations and local businesses.

“We had a barnbuster of a crowd,” a beaming Vogel said, adding, “We were at capacity with the vendors.”

This was the ninth year that Vogel has sponsored the event in Lawrence County. The vendors donated door prizes and students from the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center served a luncheon of ziti, green beans, rolls and other foods. Doughnuts and coffee also were available, and seniors as they made the rounds filled up free tote bags with trinkets, candy, pens and other giveaways.

A button box group from SNPJ played polkas on the stage after the Hum Dingers from Rhodes Estates and the Prime Timer Chimers from Northview Estates joined their bell choirs to play familiar tunes.

Bullano, who is the pianist at Rhodes Estates, joined the Hum Dingers 11 months ago. 

“I have my music books up here,” she said, pointing to her head, “because my darling aunt warmed me up with music when I was five years old.”

Bullano also plays a melodica in a harmonica group at Rhodes, which entertains the residents.

“I play my kind of music, that I know will arouse them,” she said. 

The bell ringers all wore turquoise T-shirts that were bought for them by T.J. George, the home’s administrator, and their director, Cindy Jenkin, a board certified music therapist. Jenkin directed the bell choir with help from Rhiannon Rieger, who was finishing up a college internship.

May people were walking around the expo carrying pumpkins and apples and eating ice cream.

Vogel pointed out that new to the event this year was a wall of PA Preferred booths that promoted the state’s farm industry. Those were sponsored by Dawson’s Orchards, the Apple Castle, Sperdute Farms, Stramba Alpaca Farms, Burns Angus Farms, Fresh MarketPlace at New Wilmington Center, Penn State Extension, and Windy Ridge Dairy, which gave out the ice cream samples.

Harry and Juanita Cornman, ages 85 and 80, respectively, were tired out after spending the morning at the fair. 

“We received a lot of good and useful information from different organizations,” Harry said. “Everyone I met was really nice.”

The couple, married 60 years, drove in from New Bedford, Pulaski Township to attend. They saw a lot of friends and acquaintances as they made their way through the crowd.

“That’s the another thing about this that’s really nice,” Juanita said. “We just want to show our appreciation for their having this. It’s really a nice thing for them to do.”

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