Whips, Stetsons and The Slammer among CHEER’s Frontier Festival highlights

GEORGETOWN – To many cheers, scenes from the Wild West came to Georgetown Friday.

Whips snapped, sheep were sheared, outlaws were locked up and senior-age folks like Bertha Ingalls and Betty Melson danced to the sounds of DJ Sky Brady at CHEER’s Frontier Festival.

“I’m 92 and I haven’t danced in 10 years,” said Ms. Ingalls, 92, who took part in several dances including one to the popular polka Roll Out the Barrel.

“I used to dance, but it was many, many years ago,” said Ms. Melson.

The extravaganza played to an Old West theme. Stetson hats, western shirts, boots were the order of the day for some of the approximate 500 people on hand.

The event at CHEER’s Warren L. & Charles C. Allen Jr. Community Center on Sand Hill Road doubled as a 50+ Healthy Living Expo.

Inside the center, numerous vendors, agencies and organizations provided important information on services and programs for senior-age citizens.

Outside, Sussex County Emergency Medical Services paramedics from Medic 106 in Long Neck provided safety and emergency information. On hand was the paramedics’ hands-on CPR instruction.

Donna Pecko from Long Neck learned simple, life-saving CPR chest compression many years ago. She said she has utilized it twice, one time to revive her mother.

“I felt so happy I could bring my mother back,” said Ms. Pecko.

A fun-filled fundraising feature was The Slammer, a makeshift jail. Wanted suspects were rounded up by Sussex County Sheriff Robert T. Lee and his deputies and jailed for periods of time based on bail raised or extension of sentences.

The first jailbird: Ruth Baer of Lewes. Her offense: Having too many grandchildren. “I have 17 grand-children,” said Ms. Baer. “I may be here the rest of the afternoon.”

Sentences were 10 minutes, unless jailbirds were bailed out. Sentences could be extended for additional money. Funds raised support CHEER and its member services.

No one was immune from the fundraising arm of the law as Sussex County Sheriff’s Office staffer Tina Timmons and Amy Jones were escorted into The Slammer.

“You are not above the law,” crowed Sheriff Lee.

Members from senior centers across Sussex County were bused to the event. Other local agencies and organizations also took part.

All patrons received a free chicken barbecue lunch, prepared on site by CHEER kitchen manager Harry Cannon and cook Lorenzo Bynes.

The Karson family from Frontier Town whipped up some of eye-opening entertainment.

Shane Karson, manager of Frontier Town near Ocean City, MD., and 9-year-old son Clay demonstrated their roping and whip skills.

One act in particular: Mr. Karson whip-snapped a long-stem rose held in the mouth of his wife Julie Carson.

The closing act was a performance by the Nanticoke Indian ceremonial dancers: Herman Jackson, Ragghi Rain Calentine, Michele Wright and Boe Harris.

Judy Lodge, CHEER’s hospitality director, says the first Frontier Festival was a big success.

“I think it exceeded our expectations big-time. In years past we’ve always held it in downtown Rehoboth at our well-known Beach Day, which is still our signature event. But thought we’d take it to this point and do Frontier Festival since we couldn’t get the convention center downtown,” said Ms. Lodge. “This has been a hit. For the first year of Frontier Festival we’re doing pretty good. We’ll still keep Beach Day downtown but we may add Frontier Festival.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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