Senior Fair PHOTO 1

Due to the large crowds it typically draws, WILO’s Senior Fair will be held virtually this year.

Due to the higher risk faced by the older segment of our population during this pandemic, WILO has decided to host its annual Senior Fair virtually on hoosierlandtv.com.

WILO has hosted its annual Senior Fair at various locations for nearly 30 years.

“For the first 20 or 25, we moved around all over Clinton County,” said Kevin Keith, director of operations for Kaspar Media. “For years, it was at the National Guard Armory. They did it for years there, which was a great location, but after 9-11 they had to have it as a place to deploy at any time. We floated around at different locations. For the last couple, it was at the community center at the Nazarene Church. We were able to do a shuttle bus with Frankfort Main Street and Kim Stevens.

“We would cram a lot in on a normal year between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.,” Keith continued. “We always started with a big breakfast from Hoops or Shoup’s and had usually 40 to 50 booths set up. It is for seniors, specifically – people talking about Medicare, senior living facilities, and senior service through Paul Phillippe. It is really skewed toward seniors. This gave them an opportunity to walk around, eat, and talk to people. We provided lunch as a motivation to stick around. We had bingo and had entertainment.”

As 2020 progresses, it became apparent that the senior fair would not be able to be held in person.

“Of course, with the coronavirus this year, we were wanting to get guidance from the Governor and (have been) working with (County Health Department Administrator) Rodney Wann and (County Health Officer Dr.) Stephen Tharp,” Keith said. “Since seniors are the high-risk group that we all hear about, as tough as it is, we were exploring all options until about a month ago. We thought about doing it at TPA Park, outside with more social distancing. We know from years past it is a big event with 400 to 500 people crammed into one location. It was a bridge too far this year. So, we tried to do the second-best thing, which was to do something that is meaningful virtually. That is why we have come up with a virtual senior fair this year.”

The virtual Senior Fair will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15 on hoosierlandtv.com.

“We have been promoting it for three weeks in WILO,” Keith said. “We are not encouraging seniors to go anywhere that day other than in front of their home computer, laptop or smart phone. We can do anything on WILO, but we wanted to use this new medium that we created over the last year-and-a-half – video streaming. We have had a lot of success with it. We also know it is harder to reach them with technology. So, we are encouraging their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews to ensure they can do this, that they can be somewhere next Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.”

At noon Wednesday, seniors may log-in to see and hear Don Stock and Sam Payne speak about the Neighbors helping Neighbors program. President of Clinton County Homemakers Patsy Flowers will speak at 12:30 p.m. followed by United Way of Clinton County’s Anita Stewart and Carol Price at 1 p.m., Voldico Insurance Medicare Expert Michelle Boyd at 1:30 p.m. and Veterans Service Office Joe Root at 2 p.m. Matt Oliver from Community Howard Hospital will speak about mental health during the pandemic at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday before Amanda Harness and Abigail Brown from the Clinton County Family YMCA speak at 3:30 p.m.

The tentative schedule for Thursday includes Kathy Martin from Healthy Communities of Clinton County at noon followed by Wann and Dr. Tharp from the County Health Department at 12:30 p.m., Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shan Sheridan at 1 p.m., and a representative from the Paul Phillippe center at 1:30 p.m.

“Ken Hartman will moderate most of those,” Keith said. “We are having people in on TV live to talk about senior issues – people you would normally have gone to a booth to talk to. We broke them up into half-an-hour slots between noon and 4 p.m. next Wednesday and Thursday.

“Again, it is an opportunity to log on, and we know it is not going to be as fun as getting out to see friends, have lunch, play bingo and be entertained,” Keith continued. “But, we will try to do visual things on some of these programs … We are doing that Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 4 p.m. If you can’t catch it live, it will be archived forever at hoosierlandtv.com

Keith says that, as long as circumstance at the time allow, plans are being made to possibly host two of WILO’s traditional, in-person senior fairs in 2021.

“We know it is not an ideal situation, but the plan, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking pretty for us doing a real full-fledged senior fair, maybe two of them next year,” Keith said. “We will shoot for March and September of next year. So, if people can hang with us this year, we will do it up right twice next year. We try to be optimistic at Kaspar Media, so we will say that we will be ready to go with one in March and one in September.”