Every August for the past 40 years, thousands of senior citizens from throughout Cambridge converge on Tercentenary Theatre in Harvard Yard for the Cambridge Senior Picnic, hosted by Harvard University and the city’s mayor.
This year, beneath a cloudless blue sky, they came once again with smiles and laughs to be treated to a fun-filled day of food, entertainment, dancing, and socializing. This picnic is one of many ways Harvard welcomes its neighbors to campus for activities, events, and programs.
“This is the finest city in the country,” bellowed Mayor David Maher, to a round of cheers. “Thank you to Harvard for all your hard work putting this event together, and for keeping this event up and running for the past years.”
“Harvard is made better every single day because of the strong and vibrant relationship that we have with our neighbors. Thank you all for being here today, and thank you to Mayor Maher and the entire city of Cambridge for your continued partnership,” said Paul Andrew, vice president of Harvard Public Affairs and Communications.
Cambridge resident Elaine Fisher has been coming to the picnic for 16 years because “I really enjoy the food, the gifts, the whole atmosphere, especially meeting up with my friends.”
Louisette Musow, also of Cambridge, said, “I’ve been looking forward to the picnic all year. I typically come with my friends from the Central Square Senior Center, but today I lost them along the way. These nice ladies,” she said, gesturing to the women gathered at the table around her, “let me join up with them, and they all made me feel so comfortable. I love meeting new friends. Everyone here is so nice. It’s a really, really great day.”
As a band began to play, 101-year-old Benedict Fitzgerald was clearly in his element. “I’ve been coming to the picnic — oh, I don’t know, for at least 70 years or so,” he joked, before heading off dancing down the center aisle.
Other seniors took to the stage and danced with some of the dozens of student volunteers from the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program who were on hand to help.
“Please come back and visit us,” Andrew urged. “Come and take advantage of the many programs that Harvard has to offer, such as the newly re-opened Harvard Art Museums, where, you’ll remember, Cambridge residents always get in for free!”
Also on hand were Cambridge City Councilors Leland Chung, Marc McGovern, Nadeem Mazen, Dennis Benzan, and Denise Simmons.