Seniors celebrate Mardi Gras

ottie Healy, left, dances with Jose Jimenez , right, at the SCV Senior Center at Bella Vida's Mardi Gras celebration Wednesday afternoon. February 19, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Bella Vida brought a piece of Louisiana to more than 350 seniors Wednesday at the senior center to celebrate the holiday Mardi Gras, with traditional Louisiana cuisine, music and festivities. 

“(This celebration) is another wonderful reason to have a party,” said Robin Clough, Bella Vida’s volunteer and advocacy coordinator. “We take every opportunity we can to create entertainment for the seniors.” 

For nearly every holiday, the center hosts events for seniors from all over the Santa Clarita Valley to attend. More than 350 seniors attended the event, which resulted in an overflow seating plan spilling into the patio. Even those who were seated outside had access to the festivities inside the ballroom.

Members of “Fiddle, Sticks & Ivory Plus” perform at the SCV Senior Center at Bella Vida’s Mardi Gras celebration Wednesday afternoon. February 19, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The ballroom was decorated with purple and yellow decorations, accompanied with a live performance from the local band Fiddle, Sticks and Ivory Plus. This band performs at Bella Vida twice a month, and has quickly become a crowd favorite. 

They specialize in the Dixieland musical style, which originated in New Orleans, so it was fitting for the band to perform at the event.

From start to finish, the dance floor was filled with couples dancing. 

Tommie Mae Ward, a Bella Vida regular, danced throughout the event and invited others to join her. She was dressed in the festive colors along with a Mardi Gras garland around her neck.

The SCV Senior Center at Bella Vida hosted a Mardi Gras celebration that featured a New Orleans inspired menu that included the sweet Louisiana favorite beignets. February 19, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“I love Bella Vida,” said Ward. “I can’t wait to come in the mornings because this is my home away from home.” 

Seniors at the event were given festive bead necklaces and masks to wear to complete the Mardi Gras celebration. They were also served jambalaya, beignets and more. 

“People who come through the doors bring the ambiance, character and love of life,” said Kevin MacDonald, executive director of the center. 

If seniors were not dancing, they were mingling among one another with smiles across their faces. 

“Bella Vida makes me want to live on and be independent,“ said Ward. “The sun always shines at Bella Vida.”

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