Summertime Fair celebrates the Homeland Center family and community


Another successful Homeland Center Summertime Fair dodged the raindrops – mostly – while offering fun for residents, neighbors, and kids of all ages.

Homeland resident Isabelle Smith meets Bridget. Children and the fair got a real treat by riding Bridget and a pony named Pumpkin.

The 2016 Summertime Fair, held on a warm Saturday, offered games, food, pony rides, classic cars, and a hidden treasure sale, while it spotlighted Homeland’s commitment to the community and staff. The fair has become an annual tradition and a fundraiser for Homeland’s activity fund, which helps residents enjoy outings to shows, restaurants and stores.

The fair was held all around Homeland’s grounds. Classic cars, including a Chevy Impala convertible and a little red Corvette, lined the street. A reptile petting zoo outside the front fence offered the chance to touch a tarantula and a snake. Kids enjoyed the bounce house, video game truck, face painting station, and carnival games.

At the hidden treasure sale, Homeland resident Phoebe Berner admired a pair of spike-heeled shoes in zebra print. “I like my heels an inch higher,” she joked. The fair “really has some good stuff for folks to enjoy.”

“There are a lot of fun things to do,” she said. “I need to get some tickets and try my hand at the games.” After trying the basketball-shot game, she admitted to doing “horrible, but I tried.”

The Summertime Fair, with many free and low-cost events for people of all ages, is Homeland Center’s way of thanking the community for its steadfast support. Here, two neighborhood girls have fun decorating birdhouses at the crafts table.

Deb Benna, attending with her best friend Barbara Cox, said they looked at many nursing facilities before deciding Homeland was the place for Cox’s mother.

“We just love it here,” she said. “We like the care. We like the friendliness of the employees and the cleanliness.”

Resident Rosa Walker and her daughter Beverly were soaking in the atmosphere from Homeland’s front porch, which happens to be Rosa’s favorite spot. The idyllic site overlooking the gardens and fountain “is beautiful, and very peaceful,” she said. “It’s scenic, and it’s a quiet area.”

When a pony named Pumpkin and a gray horse named Bridget arrived, children lined up for a chance to ride. Five-year-old Maliah Sumpter, daughter of Homeland Activities Assistant Gillian Lawrence, climbed on Pumpkin without hesitation. When she learned her pony’s name, she said, “That’s what my mom calls me, Pumpkin!”

“She saw the ponies and said, ‘It’s time to get on the pony,’” said Maliah’s dad, Marcellus Sumpter. The fair “is nice,” he added. “The kids wait for this every year.”

Over at the lineup of classic cars, Jesse Evans was taking his mom, 99-year-old resident Geraldine Evans, for a stroll. Geraldine was enjoying the warm day, even as a few raindrops started to fall. She loves getting outside, even in the winter, she said.

“It’s nice to get out,” she said. “When it snowed, I made my first snowball.”

The classic cars reminded her how much she also loved to drive, she said. Her son concurred, recalling their old Dodge Dart.

“She’d like to take one for a ride, if she could find the keys,” he said.

Homeland Center “is a wonderful home,” Jesse said. “If I have to go anywhere, I’m coming here. This is the best place my mom can be.”