Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seniors Caught by Lure of Mayor's Fish-a-Thon Event

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seniors Caught by Lure of Mayor's Fish-a-Thon Event

Article excerpt

Byline: Maggie FitzRoy, Shorelines staff writer

When Mary Robinson came to the fish-a-thon, she dressed for the occasion. She wore a big orange hat, bright yellow pants and a billowy yellow shirt.

"I said, 'The fish are going to see me,' " Robinson said as she cast her line into the lake at Hanna Park.

Robinson was one of about 1,600 senior citizens who came to the oceanfront park from all around Jacksonville Thursday for the 26th annual Mayor's Fish-a-thon, sponsored by the city of Jacksonville's Adult Services Division.

The four-hour event, which began at 10 a.m., included breakfast and a fish, coleslaw and hush puppy lunch. About 60 city employees volunteered to serve meals and run the games and activities.

Fishing poles were provided for those who didn't bring their own, and prizes were awarded by Mayor John Peyton for the biggest, smallest, ugliest, prettiest and most fish.

Robinson didn't win any prizes this year, but she has in the past.

"Last year I caught the prettiest fish. It was gorgeous," she said. "I have won the prettiest, ugliest and smallest. I just need two more trophies and I'd have a whole collection."

Robinson came out on a bus with other members of the Mary Singleton Center in Jacksonville. The event was targeted for people age 60 and older; they came from senior centers, church groups, senior residences and as individuals, Adult Services spokeswoman Mary Ferrell said. The fish-a-thon is one of about 12 events that the mayor sponsors every year for senior citizens.

Before Peyton handed out prizes, he spoke about the city and how important seniors are to the community.

"He supports these events and wants to see everybody involved," Ferrell said.

After the awards were given out, some seniors continued to fish just for fun. Catherine Coffee kept the 1.83-pound catfish she'd caught earlier in a cooler.

"I'm trying to catch another one," she said. "I've been coming here for the past four years. It's the first time I ever caught a fish at the fish-a-thon."

Not everyone who came to the fish-a-thon came to fish. Mercedes Micheo, 83, said she never fishes; she comes for the socializing, to play bingo, and for the food. …

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