50+ Expo

Betty Potter of Moneta, Va., spins a wheel to receive a prize at the White Oak Healthcare booth. Potter was in town for a wedding and attended the expo with her cousin. (Staff photo by Sarah Pastrana / October 19, 2012)

Older residents from Howard County and beyond packed the halls of Wilde Lake High School on Friday for the 14th annual 50+EXPO, sponsored by the Howard County's Department of Citizen Services' Office on Aging.

The free event offered participants a wealth of information, entertainment and fun, all geared for older residents. The varied roster of exhibitors ranged from health providers like Johns Hopkins Medicine and Saint Agnes Hospital to Wegmans grocery and the Columbia Association.

"This is the premier event for people over 50 in Howard County," 54-year-old Janet Jones said. "If you want information, this is the place to get it."

Jones, a resident of Baltimore City, works at the Howard County Mental Health Authority offices in Columbia, and said she's been coming to the event since she started working there in 2004.


Sign up to receive our free daily email newsletter: Columbia Today

"I come here to pick up information for our office, but I also have a 75-year-old mother, so I come to get information for her, too," Jones said.

Fulton resident Harriet Tobin, 63, said she's been attending the event since it began 14 years ago and has yet to walk away without learning something new.

"It's a lot of information," Tobin said. "There are just so many things I wasn't aware of that I am now able to take advantage of."

Tobin specifically cited the 16 different health screenings provided by Howard County General Hospital and others.

"This is something that is well worth taking advantage of," Tobin added.

While Tobin came for the information, she stayed for the entertainment, which this year was provided by the Capitol Steps, a Washington-based troupe of satirists that pokes fun at Capitol Hill through song paradies and skits.

For 83-year-old Kings Contrivance resident Henry Stern, the information and services made the event worth attending.

"It's a great opportunity to find out what's available," Stern said. "In addition there a lot of freebies, and who doesn't love freebies."

In addition to the entertainment and "freebies," this year's Expo offered a series of alternative care workshops sponsored by wellness experts from WisdomWell in Columbia.