By Danielle Church

Harker Heights Herald

BELTON - Twenty-year veteran of the Harker Heights senior center Margarat Dunlap stationed herself behind a table Tuesday afternoon during the 2011 Senior Expo in Belton.

"We have to tell people what's going on," she said, while directing her attention to various senior center craft items and photos displayed on the table for event-goers to see.

The senior center was invited to participate in the annual event for the first time this year, and Joyce Mayer, senior recreation program coordinator, said they were more than happy to make an appearance.

"The turnout has surprised me," she admitted, looking around the crowded room.

The Bell County Expo Center hosted the one-day affair that catered to senior citizens and their families, offering them information on Medicare, funeral homes, vacations and more.

Tammy Lawson, director of sales and marketing for Scott & White senior care who helped sponsor the free rock-and-roll themed event, said this is the second year its been held and were expecting around 600 people to attend.

According to Lawson, the expo is typically planned to be held in the fall because it is around that time when open enrollment for Medicare begins.

"Families on Medicare (and) just anyone that needs information can come in," she said.

And while free blood pressure testing, eye and hearing exams were available in a wellness

center station throughout the event, Lawson assured it was, "not all about health and wellness."

A classic car exhibit displayed itself outside while an Elvis Presley impersonator hit the stage inside, captivating an excited audience.

Food and beverages were available as well as courtesy shuttles to transport attendees from their cars to the venue, which Lawson said were a new addition to the event this year.

The Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas set up camp near the entrance of the exposition area.

Benefits counselor Margaret Ciaramello said she believes an event like this is a good way to make seniors aware of all that is available to them, such as the many services her company provides free of charge.

Benefits counseling, caregiver support and short-term care coordination are just some of the services the AAACT offers, she said.

Belton resident Vernice Black, 78, said she noticed as soon as she walked in the door the abundance of information that was going to be available to her all in one place.

"There're a lot of people here," she said, admitting that she attended this year's event to begin preparing for some of the things she may be needing in the future.

Contact Danielle Church at or (254) 501-7567.

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