Dancercise members Dorothy Triplett (left) and Louise Gonzales (right) participate in a demonstration of their dance class at Clayton County Senior Services' annual Mayfest celebration Friday.
JONESBORO Don’t underestimate senior citizens' ability to get down with their bad selves.
About a thousand of them showed Friday they could swing their hips — without throwing them out — while doing the cupid shuffle, the Macarena and their best impersonations of Tina Turner in full “Proud Mary” mode.
The funky elders strutted their stuff at Clayton County Senior Services’ annual Mayfest celebration at Clayton County International Park.
At one point, female participants in the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center’s Dancercise class showed their fellow senior citizens how to act young, as they did popular hip hop line dances on the Mayfest stage.
“Those are some bad girls right there,” said Senior Services Director Mary Byrd as the dancers left the stage. “I want to see everybody come out and join this class.”
Mayfest is partly a celebration of senior citizens, but it is also a chance for Senior Services to raise awareness of its programs. The annual event is the product of a cooperation of several county departments, but the main sponsors are Senior Services and Clayton County Parks and Recreation.
Mostly, it’s a chance for the seniors to have a little fun and be entertained. The theme for this year was “Unleash the Power of Age.”
Several current and former elected officials came up and greeted the elderly, and heaped praise on Senior Services staffers for putting the event together.
“Today, we’re spending time with one of our best departments,” said county Commissioner Gail Hambrick.
State Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) added, “We’re going to rock this house. We’re going to bring it down.”
Former Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell also added, “Look at this big tent we’re under today, Mary Byrd has really gone first class for you all this year.”
Bell was referring to the large, big-top-esque tent which was set up to house all of the attending seniors. In previous years, they were crowded in a pavilion at International Park.
The biggest hit, however, was the dancing.
“I love to dance!” said Stockbridge resident Dorothy Triplett, a member of the Dancercise group and a first-time Mayfest attendee. She later added, “I really applaud Clayton County Senior Services for having events such as this for the seniors. It has absolutely excellent.”
Dancing was such a big part of the event that Senior Services and parks and recreation staff suddenly did a flash mob in the middle of lunch. The workers began dancing for close to 10 minutes, dancing to everything from the "Macarena" to "Proud Mary."
By the end of the mob, some of the seniors jumped out of their seats to join in the dancing.
“I thought this entire event was just wonderful,” said Morrow resident Grace Cogman.
A friend of hers, fellow Morrow resident Dorothy Sword, added, “We plan on coming back next year.”