Budget cuts and the loss of a major sponsor have brought an end to a 38-year tradition, the Old Timers Picnic, offered by several City agencies each August as a summer outing for seniors.
Co-sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Human Services Department’s Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens, and Senior Services, the picnic provided a hot dog lunch, an outdoor experience at a park, live music and entertainment, information from the Mayor, civic leaders, and service providers, and a social experience on an August day almost guaranteed to bring fair weather.
In recent years the picnic has taken place at the Woodland Park Zoo, where picnickers could wander the exhibits after lunch. Each agency brought in-kind resources to the event, so the only real expense was the food. In 2010, the sponsor providing funding for the food ended its support, and the cost of the food fell to Parks. Parks has experienced a 10% reduction in its operating budget in 2011 and can no longer support the event.
“I’m terribly disappointed to have to end this great tradition,” said Acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams, “but we just don’t have the funds to pay for it. When financial times improve, we’ll try to put together another event that celebrates the energy and wisdom of our seniors.”