Marysville senior center hosts annual picnic barbecue

MARYSVILLE — Although the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center has only been going for 12 years, its 13th annual senior picnic barbecue drew more than 300 attendees Aug. 10.

Senior Community Center Coordinator Maryke Burgess explained that the yearly tradition began before the center even existed.

"I love the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from our sponsors each year," Burgess said. "Without them, we couldn't have this event. They love it so much that they don't just pitch in financially, but they even come out to help us."

Each lunch traditionally consists of Alaskan salmon or fried chicken, as well as a salad, a roll and a drink. The food has been provided to diners aged 55 years or older by the city of Marysville and Harry and Miko Winder, the latter two of whom Burgess credited with providing the first salmon dinners at the start of the event more than a dozen years ago.

"It's amazing how this has grown the way it has," Harry Winder said. "It used to just be a handful, but now it's hundreds. It lets all of us old goats get together, have fun and socialize."

While city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew and former Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall served meals, current Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring took the time to greet event attendees, along with Marysville City Council member Donna Wright and state Sen. Jean Berkey.

"It's a delightful event," Berkey said. "I enjoy seeing the city provide this service for its older residents."

"It's a great community gathering that's not just limited to our community," Wright said. "We have folks come up from as far as Lynnwood, and we welcome them."

Glen Rathvon and Burnelle Hall both volunteer weekly at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center and have attended the senior picnic barbecue for several years each. They agreed that the quality of the meals and the company they meet keeps them coming back each year.

"The seniors love being treated to a special day of good meals with generous portions," said Burgess, who added that this year's event boasted a professional DJ, as well as John Hovey from the Marysville Care Center and Barbara Lester from Marysville's Grandview Village jointly emceeing the event. "It lets older adults know that the city cares about them and considers them valuable members of the community."

Burgess expressed her gratitude to the local businesses who have collaborated with the city to make the annual meal possible by "putting a little bit of themselves in this event," as well as to organizations like the Lakewood High School volleyball and cross-country teams for volunteering their assistance.

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