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PORTAGE | Bonnie Bozak, Emma Jones, Winnie Norton and a group of their friends from the Bonner Senior Center sat around a large table at Woodland Park's community building Thursday morning.

They'd just finished making the circuit of some 70 vendors who had turned out for the 15th annual Portage Senior Health Fair sponsored by the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Senior Services.

"It is something to do free, plus it's fellowship," said Norton of Hobart. "For people who are low income this is the place to come."

Plus, said Norton, she got to stock up on reusable tote bags.

"You get all kinds of bags to carry your groceries in. It's my second year and I love it," she said.

"Almost anything you want is here," said Jones of Portage, pointing out booths that provided everything from free blood pressure screening to foot massages.

"We come every year. We like all the nice goodies," said Bozak of Lake Station.

The annual fair is set to be a one-stop shop for seniors to gather information about various aspects of health care and other information ranging from financial protection to insurance and even a free lesson in Zumba.

"It is all about their health and a better quality of life," said City Council President Sue Lynch, who organizes the event with the committee. "It's all about them. It's about making their lives better."

Lynch said they've worked to perfect the event over the years. This year they spread out the booths a little to give some more space and set up additional seating. They even provided bottled water to those attending. In the future, she's hoping they'll be able to provide more information on public transportation and affordable senior housing.

Following the fair, seniors were treated to a free luncheon sponsored by Porter Regional Hospital.

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Porter County reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for more than 38 years, including 23 years with The Times. She covers municipal and school government in Valparaiso and Portage.