A long running holiday tradition for senior citizens in the Five Cities returned Wednesday at the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville in Oceano. The popular theatre hosted more than a 100 shut-in seniors for a annual event organized since 1978 by the Arroyo Grande Valley Kiwanis.
“It touches us to see that we have the opportunity to be part of something that brings joy to someone else’s life that otherwise may not get something like this throughout the year,” said Victor Devens of the Kiwanis.
The 90-minute show is a special matinee performance of the Melodrama’s “Holiday Extravaganza.” For many in the audience, it’s their most significant excursion outside their residence all year.
“I think it’s fabulous,” said 98-year old Margaret Haak, who has attended several previous holiday performances. “I just can’t believe that year after year, they are so great.”
While the Kiwanis provide transportation for some of the seniors, as well serve as volunteers during the performance, the show itself, plus refreshments, is donated by the Melodrama owners, who were previously members of the service club.
“Our club looks forward to this event every year,” said Maureen Sharon, current club president. “We work with local care facilities to identify the senior citizens.”
Senior citizens who attended this year included residents from the Alder House, Grandmother’s Trailer Park, Santa Maria Terrace, Oak Park Manor, Mesa Dunes, Central Coast Seniors, A.G. Care Center, Bella Vista Care Center and Mission View Health Center.