Several visitors (mostly senior citizens) paid a visit a week ago Saturday morning and afternoon to an “Open-House” at the newly renovated four-story senior housing facility, the Newton Place, (formerly known as the 1906 HAAS Building which bears the name).


Several visitors (mostly senior citizens) paid a visit a week ago Saturday morning and afternoon to an “Open-House” at the newly renovated four-story senior housing facility, the Newton Place, (formerly known as the 1906 HAAS Building which bears the name).

It kicked off the Summer Social for the fourth year as activities took shape around the historical downtown square in Neosho. Sponsored by the “City of Springs” and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, Shana Griffin said, “This was perhaps our best year yet. The weather cooperated well into the evening with our “Cinema in the Park.” By late in the day the square was buzzing with people, sand sculptures, games, various club and civic booths, and entertainment, including a dunk tank.

“Offering of free ice cream sandwiches (while they lasted), free games and entertainment increased attendance,” Griffin added.

The Newton County Senior Center booth was busy giving away free slices of watermelon to youngsters 14 and under, while parents and grandparents paid 25 cents to enjoy a taste of summer’s last delicacy.

Some senior ladies in the booth were busy with the bean bag toss for the little “tikes.” The throwing distance  depended on size and age of the participant.

Many chuckles were heard in the background.

“I enjoy watching the kids,” said Bonnie Derryberry, senior center helper. “An occasional breeze helps too!” she quipped. I noticed Bonnie and others liked their comfortable lawn chairs too.
Most of the senior set, being grandparents,  enjoyed the children.

Elizabeth Rogers, NHS band director helped her students compete in the sculpture contest with “Pyramids of Egypt” creations.

“I think the whole idea of the Summer Social is great,” she said. “Students let off steam and they socialize with all generations. I think it’s a great idea.”

The sculpturing contest included members of the High School Band, Crowder College and eight other teams from various clubs and organizations.

City crews brought in a few tractor-trailer loads  of sand, lining the northside of the square with tons of sand. The Neosho Fire Department sprayed water onto the areas where the sand artists were creating to enhance their artistic endeavors. Flying high above all this activity was Old Glory furling in the light breeze from atop the fire truck ladder. “Very impressive to any senior citizen especially those who served in the armed services,” commented Dr. Bill  Doubek, pastor of the Neosho First Lutheran Church.

The petting zoo and donkey (horse) rides for the smaller set was busy as children enjoyed their afternoon of horseplay.

The Neosho Masonic Lodge provided a Child Identification Program to help families create a kit of identifying materials that would help with cases of missing children. It also was offered free to parents.

After a healthy dose of entertainment, people headed toward the Big Spring Park area for a showing of “High School Musical 2” to round out the days activities.

Shana Griffin said, “I believe we had a large crowd because the event was free and offered unique attractions such as the sand sculpture. I hope next year will be even bigger.”

As Forrest Gump might utter, “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”