Hundreds of seniors attend Mayfest

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
A seniors choir serenades the group of more than 600 with their rendition of "Under the Boardwalk."

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats A seniors choir serenades the group of more than 600 with their rendition of "Under the Boardwalk."

By Kathy Jefcoats


Surrounded by colorful balloons, seniors wearing festive T-shirts, and vendors handing out free samples, Jonesboro resident Sue Wilmot had just one tiny complaint Friday, and it involved something no one can control.

"I was hoping it would be cooler," said Wilmot.

Warmer temperatures notwithstanding, the annual Mayfest went off without a hitch at the Clayton County International Park, known locally as The Beach. Clayton County Senior Services Director Mary Byrd said more than 600 seniors showed up for lunch, good music, a chance to strut their stuff on the stage and the opportunity to fellowship.

"This year's Mayfest has exceeded our expectations," said Byrd. "Everyone is happy."

DJ Youngblood of KISS 104.1 emceed the event, spinning tunes familiar to the 55 and older crowd -- The Temptations and Four Tops being popular -- and a senior choir entertained with their version of "Under the Boardwalk."

When Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell took the stage, he sang a cappella renditions of "How Great Thou Art" and "Jesus Loves Me."

Bell let the seniors know how important they are to the county.

"If you want to see me get upset, just let me know something is wrong at one of our centers," he said. "My mother lived in this county until she was 93 and is buried here. I have taken on the care of an aunt who will be 99 this year.

"I try to live by example and take care of y'all," continued Bell. "You're in my heart, not just in my head."

Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough also attended. "It is important that we provide a safe community for all citizens, no matter their ages," he said. "They paved the way for us to stand on their shoulders to achieve greatness."

The day was all about the seniors and how much fun they could have.

Sue Wilmot, 66, said she treasures her time with other seniors. "This gets me out of the house and enjoying life," she said. "You gotta get out of your chair, you know?"

The Perry Center bus driver sat in the shade with her husband of nearly 43 years, a retired truck driver. "This is exciting for us," she said. "We enjoy the fellowship."

This is the third Mayfest for Jerona Solomon, 70, of Riverdale.

"I think Mayfest is wonderful," she said. "But the centers overall are great, they take good care of us. We just took a trip to Charleston, [we] go to movies and we eat a lot."