Annual Altoona Day held in Florida

Jim Lane submitted this photo of Anna Mae Helsel and Joe Burns, who were recognized as the oldest attendees.

A record turnout of 163 people attended the annual Altoona Day festivities in February at Duff’s Original Buffet in Bradenton, Fla.

The luncheon has been held for many years at various Florida locations and attracts people from the Altoona and Blair County area, who either live in Florida or spend part of their winters in the Sunshine State.

Following a buffet lunch, the afternoon featured a social time to renew and make new acquaintances. Several door prizes also highlighted the activities.

Anna Mae Helsel and Joe Burns were recognized as the oldest attendees and received gifts.

Helsel, 95, who lives in Clearwater, Fla., originally is from Newry and is a 1940 graduate of Hollidaysburg High School.

Courtesy photos Virginia Harrington submitted this photo of some of the participants of this year’s Altoona Day festivities in Bradenton, Fla. Shown are (from left): Tom Irwin, Leonard Burns, Jim Lane, Bill Beard and Don Harrington.

Burns, 88, is a 1949 grad of Altoona High School. Burns, who now lives in The Villages, Fla., is a past secretary-treasurer of Altoona Day.

George Sakandy gave a brief talk on activities provided by Arts Altoona.

Altoona area businesses who continue to support Altoona Day in Florida are Altoona Area School District, Altoona Mirror, Benzel’s Foods, Blair Candy, Copy Rite, Del Grosso Foods, UPMC, M&T Bank, Homewood, Health Care First CU, Health South, Hampton Inn, Adonia Beauty Shop, Ward Trucking and Penn State Altoona.

Jim Lane is president of the organization, and Donna Luciano is secretary-treasurer.

Altoona Day 2020 will be held Feb. 27 at Duff’s Original Buffet, 6010 14th St., West, Bradenton, FL 34207.