The highly anticipated senior appreciation dinner is returning this year as an in-person event at the Villa Chanticleer on Dec. 5. Since the dinner was organized as a drive-thru event last year Healdsburg seniors and senior center staff are excited to once again meet in person and break bread together for the popular event.
Proof of vaccination is required to attend the in-person event.
“It’s with great excitement and lots of anticipation that we’ll be bringing back the senior dinner to the Villa Chanticleer this year,” said Anna Grant, the active adult and senior services supervisor for the city of Healdsburg senior center. “This is an event that has multiple ways for our seniors to participate.”
Fully vaccinated Healdsburg residents who are 60 or better can participate in the free in-person dinner at the Villa on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 1:30 p.m.
“They’ll have to come in and show the staff proof of vaccination and sign a COVID release waiver and then we give them a ticket for entry — we call it the golden ticket,” Grant said.
For those who aren’t quite ready to participate indoors for any reason, they can join in on the festivities via a free drive-thru option. Free home delivery is also an option.
“We’ve always done delivery for our homebound seniors for many years and we will continue that tradition,” Grant said.
With three ways to participate in the dinner, Grant said they hope to get many participants to join in on the event. She said the senior appreciation dinner is one of the senior center’s most anticipated events of the year for Healdsburg’s senior community.
The event is a formal occasion — attendees like to dress up in their best threads and walk down the red carpet at the Villa. The event also includes live music, door prizes and a raffle. The free dinner includes a three-course meal and a cocktail hour.
“It’s all brought to you by the generous donations from the community and all of the volunteers that help make this event happen,” Grant said.
She said the seniors have been really looking forward to the event since last year’s dinner was solely a drive-thru event and since it’s been difficult to connect with others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been a difficult two years for everyone and even last year I would have never even imagined the possibility of getting our seniors together for something like this, but our seniors are just needing this connection,” Grant said.
She said being able to come together and enjoy a meal together at the table is something special, especially for the seniors in the community who haven’t been able to socialize together safely for many months.
“This provides them that opportunity in an environment where they can feel safe in and in a way that they can feel that this is really a celebration,” Grant said. “It’s just something that I’m very happy to be able to bring to them and for some of the seniors this really is their only holiday meal and we want to make that as special as possible.”
She said since the senior center announced that the event would be happening there’s been a flurry of joy and excitement among local seniors.
The senior appreciation dinner started 38 years ago and has been operating with the aim of letting local seniors know how thankful the community is for their years of work and contributions to the Healdsburg community.
“These are people that really are part of the community,” Grant said.
Drive-thru participants will be able to drive by the Villa to pick up their meal and see some of the decorations last year. For those who get deliveries, they’ll be getting a hot meal delivered straight to their door with a program.
Grant said they’re asking folks to RSVP for the event no later than Dec. 1.
To get tickets and to RSVP, visit the Healdsburg Senior Center at 133 Matheson Street, or to give them a call at 707-431-3324. The senior center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.