Seniors Flock to Annual Holiday Luncheon

Barbecue, conversation and Christmas music drew more than 200 seniors Thursday to the Mayor’s Holiday Luncheon, a much-loved city tradition.

Mayor Robert Cluck, along with a dozen city employees, served the guests at the Senior Center on Eunice Street. The event was free to Arlington residents 55 and older.

“This is a way for us to give back to our community and acknowledge our senior citizens,” said James Turner, the city’s senior activities manager. “Our seniors look forward to this.”

Chord Busters, the senior center’s ukulele band, and performers from Ms. Persis Dance Studio in Arlington, provided entertainment, as seniors feasted on sliced beef and sausage, cole slaw and potato salad from Spring Creek Barbecue. Dozens of Arlington business donated items for door prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, jewelry, yoga classes and more.

Former Arlington Mayor Elzie Odom began this tradition when he served as mayor from 1997 to 2003. The luncheon was organized by the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department.

“It’s remarkable and admirable the city manages to do this in tough economic times,” said Michael Hudon, who attended the luncheon with his 86-year-old mother, Betsy. “This is a big treat to a lot of people.”

Pat Kemper, who moved to Arlington two years ago to be closer to her daughter, said the event provided a chance to meet fellow seniors.

“This gives me a warm, hospitable feeling,” Kemper said. “Arlington is a lovely place for me to call home.”