Fremont Friendship Center patrons will have the opportunity to enjoy a little music next week.
Although the center has been closed due to COVID-19, it will provide musical entertainment and other activities on Wednesday mornings for people ages 60 and over.
“Usually, it’s going to be entertainment, but not every Wednesday,” said Laurie Harms, center manager.
Activities will take place in the Christensen Field main arena, which is adjacent to the Friendship Center.
Even with restrictions, the large main arena — at 50 percent capacity — can accommodate 500 people.
“We won’t have near that many people, but we’re hoping that those seniors who participate at the center would be interested in coming,’’ Harms said.
Activities begin at 10 a.m. July 29 when Pam Kragt of Omaha will sing.
“She’s a wonderful singer,” Harms said. “The seniors just love her.”
Kragt performs a wide variety of music, including country and line dance music.
Specific protocols, such as 6-foot social distancing, will be followed.
Seniors must call 402-727-2815 for reservations to attend and are not to arrive before 9:45 a.m.
“We don’t want a lot of congregating,” Harms said. “If people congregate, they tend to be closer than 6 feet apart.”
Attendees enter on the far east side of the building. They need to bring their own chairs.
There will be temperature checks and seniors will be asked a series of questions to make sure they’re feeling well before they go into the building.
Once inside, they will be asked to sit in their chairs — 6 feet apart. If they are a couple or from the same household, they can sit together.
Masks are recommended. Line dancing will be allowed with the 6-foot social distance.
No refreshments will be served, but seniors can bring their own bottle of water or coffee.
“We want people to feel safe to come,” Harms said. “We know not everybody will want to come and that’s OK. It just depends on the level of comfort they have in dealing with all of the coronavirus.”
Harms said she’s talked with the Three Rivers Public Health Department and Kim Koski, director of the Fremont Parks and Recreation Department, about the opportunity.
Both have been amazing, Harms said warmly.
Area seniors need to be with others and have something to do.
Harms said people have called her on the phone, crying.
“They don’t think we’re ever going to open,” she said. “It’s pretty heartbreaking.”
But such things motivate Harms.
“My goal is that this will give them hope and encouragement that we will one day open again,” she said.
She is working to safely provide something for seniors to look forward to once a week.
Other activities on Wednesdays include:
- —Popcorn in the Parking Lot. Seniors will bring their own chairs and drinks. Popcorn will be provided from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and seniors can sit 6 feet apart and visit. If the weather is hot, seniors will move into the main arena. “We’re hoping it will be nice out,” Harms said.
- —Entertainer Kim Eames of Omaha will perform. She plays a variety of music and loves to line dance with the seniors.
- —The Links of Gretna. Mary Link plays guitar and Diana Sapp plays the keyboard. “They’ve sung for us for years,” Harms said.
- —Jerry Stingley of Omaha, who plays keyboard, will perform a wide variety of music.
“I’m still hoping we’re going to open sooner than later,” Harms said “It’s hard waiting.”
Harms said she and her staff will enjoy seeing everyone.
“We get to see some people during the Grab and Go meals and we are continuing that,” she said. “We would really love to encourage people to order a meal for Wednesday and pick it up before they go home.”
Seniors ages 60 and older, who make reservations, are invited to get a packaged hot lunch from the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. The suggested donation is $4, but seniors can pay what they’re able to.
Meals will be distributed between 11:30 a.m. and noon, Mondays-Friday in the center parking lot at 1730 W. 16th St., Fremont. Seniors need to make reservations for the next day’s meal by noon by calling 402-727-2815.