Seniors celebrate in Beaver Creek
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – It’s hard to tell who has more fun at the Park Hyatt’s annual senior luncheon, the seniors or the Hyatt staff.
Seniors from around Eagle County got together Monday to laugh and sing and and engage in general fun-having, as they have the Monday before Thanksgiving for more than a decade.
Exactly how much more than a decade is a bit unclear. This very newspaper said last year’s was the 10th annual.
But Gloria Reed said Monday’s was her 14th.
Personally, we’re going with Gloria as our unimpeachable source on this one.
“This is always exceptional. They always treat us so well,” Reed said.
Robert Purdy has been the Hyatt general manager for a year. Last year’s senior luncheon was one of his first events, and he says it’s one of his favorites.
“It’s one of their favorites, too,” he says.
There’s none of this fashionably-late business. The seniors start showing up early because they can’t wait to get the party started.
And, it’s a really good party.
Local jazz legends Tony Gulizia and Allan Finney volunteered to do the music again this year. The music started upbeat and stayed that way.
The room was packed with seniors – laughing, singing, doing the Chicken Dance with Helmut Fricker when Gulizia and Finney cranked it up.
Corporate executives do not do the Chicken Dance when they’re at the Park Hyatt, but if they did I’ll bet their company’s stock prices would go up.
Eagle County has three senior centers, Eagle, Minturn and Basalt. Some ride the bus, some drive. They get there any way they can with the possible exception of parachuting in. Monday’s cloud cover was too low or some of them might have.
Peach Duty, who lives up to her name, helps the Park Hyatt staff put the event together.
“This is one way for us to give back to the community,” Duty said.
The Park Hyatt does a dandy job. Each place setting has a candy cane hand-decorated as a reindeer, wrapped in a linen napkin.
“Everyone looks forward to this,” said John Bade, a senior enjoying his seventh Park Hyatt senior luncheon. “They’re so gracious here. They treat us like family.”
More than a dozen members of the senior management staff serves and buses tables. Purdy was schlepping dirty dishes while wearing a huge smile. Carolyn Knudsen from accounting was gracefully floating from table to table. Scott Gubrud is normally the Park Hyatt sales and marketing director. Monday he was told by the banquet staff that he’d be filling water glasses and other assorted duties, so that’s what he did.
Christian Apetz is the Park Hyatt’s new executive chef, recently arrived from Boston. Purdy brought him in from a Hyatt in Boston.
“We have around 15 people from the top management staff – accounting, engineering … everywhere, and they’re all having a great time,” Gubrud said, grinning as he strode by, water pitcher in hand.
When it was over, the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.