Seniors have a place to chill

Kevin Yackly relaxes Friday as he waits for fairgoers to join him in the Senior Citizens Comfort Center at the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo in Hitchcock.

Photo by John DeLapp

HITCHCOCK — Just like in high school the cool seniors have a special place to hang out at the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo.

That place is the Senior Citizen Comfort Center and it is sponsored by the Senior Share Program of Galveston County.

”We’re offering senior citizens that go to the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo a place to regain their steam” Kevin Yackly of Senior Share said. ”They can sit down in our air-cooled room and have a cup of coffee or a bottle of water get themselves together and then go back out to the fair.”

The cool-down center is housed in a tent that is centrally located by the fair’s front gate. The rodeo events are to the left and the carnival is to the right.

Inside the tent are two air-conditioning units a pair of couches chairs refrigerators stocked with bottled water and damp towels and a coffee maker.

The tent is pretty spacious and when the fair is in high gear it will be able to provide comfort to quite a few people Yackly said.

”We’ll probably have enough room for 25 seniors to come inside” he said.

Patrons of the center will notice a marked difference in temperature. Yackly said the chillers easily will get the tent down to 75 degrees.

”With fans and air-conditioning running it will cool them way down” he said. ”It’s a lot better than walking out there (on the fairgrounds).”

Yackly was inspired to create the cool-down tent by his late mother-in-law.

”About two years ago she said she would never come back to the fair because there weren’t any facilities for the elderly” he said. ”She didn’t want to come out because there was nowhere for her to sit down and relax.”

Senior citizens are not the only people who can enjoy the cool atmosphere.

”It’s also for special-needs people” Yackly said. ”So if someone comes in and they are in a wheelchair they can come in out of the sun wipe off their forehead and get something to drink.”

Yackly already is thinking about the future. Next year he would like to run air-conditioning ducts in the tent and he already is looking to get an actual building constructed.

”(The fair) is senior-friendly and each year it is getting more senior-friendly and we are going to get bigger and bigger” he said.


At A Glance

The Galveston County Fair and Rodeo enters its first weekend today.

Can’t miss events include:

9 a.m.: Parade

10 a.m.: Mutton bustin’ prelims

11:30 a.m.: Market rabbit judging

Noon: Talent show

6:30 p.m.: Seafood cook-off awards

7 p.m.: Market turkey judging

7 p.m.: Market broiler judging

7 p.m.: Ranch rodeo

7 p.m.: Mutton bustin’ finals


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