Seniors dine in style at the Winter Festival |

Seniors dine in style at the Winter Festival

Post Independent/Amanda Holt Miller Jim and Patsy Ota, originally from Hawaii, enjoy some special hors d'oeuvres at the fourth annual Winter Festial at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home Tuesday.

RIFLE – The dining hall at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home in Rifle looked more like a wedding reception hall Tuesday night.The residents were treated to a night of fine dining, mingling and music. The Veteran’s Home staff decorated the dining hall with a Valentine’s theme for the Winter Festival and the band InFlux came to entertain the residents while they dined on prime rib, chicken Kiev and lobster.Marilyn Ukele, a resident, munched on a potsticker and chicken pineapple kabobs in the lounge before the meal. She went to the Winter Festival last year, and remembered it with fondness.”It was just beautiful last year,” Ukele said. “The theme was a night in Paris.”

Ukele hadn’t seen the decorations in the dining hall yet, but looked forward to a lovely evening.This was the fourth annual Winter Festival at the Veteran’s Home, said Beth Buster, the activities director. “It’s nice because Christmas is over and Thanksgiving is over,” Buster said. “You’ve got to have something to look forward to.”National Honor Society students from Rifle High School manned the hors d’oeuvres table and served residents in the dining room, visiting their tables and taking orders.”It’s just like going to a fancy restaurant,” Buster said.

Many residents do take regular excursions to local restaurants and restaurants as far away as Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs. But for those who don’t care to leave the nursing home, the Winter Festival provides a nice opportunity.”They have all the comforts of home here, but it’s like going out to dinner,” Buster said. “They can sit and listen to good music while they enjoy their dinners.”Buster said residents don’t usually dance at this event, but the nursing home does sponsor regular dances.Jim and Patsy Ota, who are originally from Hawaii, enjoy the festival. They went last year as well.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Patsy said, “Whenever they have an event, at least I am here. Jim, if he feels like it, he comes, too. But I always go to the events.”The other residents and administrators at the nursing home have dubbed Patsy their “party girl.”The staff has plans to take residents to two Rockies baseball games in Denver this summer and will also take trips to Sleepy Cat Ranch and Blackhawk. Patsy intends to be on all those buses.”We try to keep people as busy as they want to be,” Buster said of the nursing home’s many events.Meanwhile, Patsy and Jim anticipated the prime rib dinner that awaited Tuesday night.

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