PORTSMOUTH — Violet Goode joined a group of senior women to line dance to the beats of Pitbull's "Fire Ball," before a group of 10 others strummed ukuleles and sang holiday songs, and dozens of area seniors were served lunch by police officers, all during Thursday's senior holiday luncheon.
About 100 attended the event at Community Campus, said Brinn Sullivan, senior services supervisor, who reminded that anyone over the age of 50 can attend the city's senior events. Sullivan also put in a plug for someone to come forward and lead the popular line-dancing program, a 20-year favorite, now without a coordinator.
Bob Lima attended the luncheon wearing a loud red-and-green Christmas jacket, with matching green-and-white tie. He was joined by Janice Whitham, who decked herself with holiday attire, from a Santa Claus hat on her head, to Christmas tree earrings and a sweater splattered with snowflakes.
Islington Street residents Linda and Ralph DiBernardo said the holiday luncheon is a good chance to meet old and new friends, while the lunch is impossible to beat.
"People who don't come are missing out," said Ralph DiBernardo, a retired Portsmouth firefighter.
The couple saved seats for their friends Cindy and Bob Lister, the latter a retired Portsmouth school superintendent and city mayor.
Nearby, the ukulele ensemble, named "Uke Got to be Kidding Me," played classic holiday songs, while appreciative party-goers tapped feet and sang along.
Community policing officer Rochelle Navelski donned reindeer antlers and joined patrol officer Christina Meyer, animal control officer Bonnie Robinson and Police Chief Robert Merner, to serve lunch to the seniors, as well as guests served by Great Bay Services. They served a smorgasbord of sandwiches, pasta salads, chowder and holiday desserts.
Merner greeted resident Harold Whitehouse with a handshake, talked with high school student volunteer Nick Jones and rescued a dropped bread roll, before someone tripped over it.
"It's a chance to come out and see people you wouldn't see otherwise," said Ralph DiBernardo. "It's nice when the police come and you get a chance to meet the officers."
Goode, a 30-year line dancer, comes from her Exeter home for weekly line-dancing practice, proof that people from outside Portsmouth are welcome to participate in the city's senior programs.
For information about senior activities in Portsmouth, including the growing Dull Men's Club, log onto cityofportsmouth.com/recreation/senior.