Hakuna Matatas celebrates anniversary

Courtesy photo Six out of the original eight Hakuna Matata square dancers are (from left): front row — Marita Forr, Cristina Polito, Camey Wilt, Donnie Rabine, Leah Leiden and Carl Kiesewetter; back row — callers Tom Miller and Cory Geishauser. Not present for photo are Johnny Noel and the late Beth Goetz.

The Hakuna Matatas HandiCapable square dance club of Altoona celebrated its 13th anniversary in September, National Square Dance Month.

More than 60 people attended the huge gathering of past, present and future dancers and angels helper dancers as they celebrated at The Arc of Blair County.

Altoona Mayor Matthew Pacifico presented the Hakuna Matatas with a proclamation to the city and the angels with the Golden Spike, Altoona’s key to the city, because of their many hours of volunteering and steering the dancers in the right direction.

Callers Cory Geishauser and Tom Miller, who started up and have been with this group since the very beginnings read congratulations letters from Patty Greene, Callerlab chairman of the board, and Michelle Mabie, past president of The U.S. HandiCapable Association.

Maria Brandt, director of The Arc of Blair County, told the story of how The Hakuna Matatas originated. Parents, angels, social workers and caretakers prepared dinner for the event.

The club meets from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Thursdays at The Arc of Blair County, 431 Jackson Ave., Altoona.