Osceola COA marks holiday with entertainment, senior dinner

EVART — The bitter winds and blustery snow couldn't stop Osceola County seniors from enjoying the annual Commission on Aging Holiday Dinner Wednesday at the Osceola County 4-H/FFA Fairgrounds

Inside the building, 154 people were served a dinner of turkey, stuffing, vegetables and dessert, and heated up rather quickly with Elvis tribute artist Jake Slater, singing some of the King of Rock 'n' Roll's holiday favorites and chart toppers.

For sisters Faye Gismondi, Tishia Pontius and Shirley McCarthy, all of Evart, the real dessert was enjoying Slater's "awesome" portrayal of Elvis.

"He's great," Gismondi said, as she held a Teddy bear handed out by Slater during "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear." "I've been to several of his shows. This is my second bear I got from him."

Pontius enjoyed her first performance of the tribute artist, much at the behest of Gismondi and McCarthy.

"The meal was really good, and he's really good," Pontius said, as she also received a teddy bear during the show.

McCarthy said she bought her sisters tickets as part of their Christmas gifts.

"The meal was very good," she said. "And we just love Jake. He's a very nice, young man."

COA Director Scott Schryer said this year's annual dinner had the largest turnout to date.

"It's wonderful to see, and they're all having a good time," he said, as Slater performed, while he and other COA staff and volunteers enjoyed their meal after serving the seniors. "It's a great turnout. There was some question as to whether or not we would be able to sell tickets to this — for a meal and entertainment, but everyone loves Jake and he can really sing."

Schryer said even the snow couldn't keep many seniors away from enjoying the holiday meal.

"We only had eight who canceled today," he said. "It's wonderful to see everyone is enjoying themselves."