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Sunshine, sunnies, seniors and smiles

Volunteers from 4-H Chippewans, Junior Vikings and Viking Sportsmen rode with the seniors on the pontoons, helping them to bait lines and take off fish. Seniors were ecstatic when a fish nibbled on their lines. (Photo by Caroline Roers)1 / 2
More than 120 seniors went fishing and sight-seeing on pontoons on Lake Darling as part of the Viking Sportsmen's Senior Fish Day. (Photo by Caroline Roers)2 / 2

Seniors reeled in a good time under blue skies, during the 29th annual Senior Fishing Day on July 11.

The popular event, hosted by Viking Sportsmen and many volunteers, is a day where senior citizens and special handicapped people have the opportunity to ride along on pontoons to fish or sightsee for a few hours.

"The seniors just love it. The next day at the senior center they have already started to talk about next year. And if their friends missed it then they would tell them all about it and how good of a time it was," Arlene Bosek, director of the event noted. "I hear about it all year round."

This year, more than 120 seniors from around the Alexandria area, including veterans from Fergus Falls, gathered at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center to go fishing.

Later, they were taken to the 4-H building at the fairgrounds for a fish fry from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

The number of people fed during the fish fry has grown each year; this year they fed more than 400 people.

Though there were hundreds of volunteers at the event, a large portion of the volunteers are Junior Vikings and 4-H Chippewans.

The kids ride along in the boats with the seniors, help bait the hooks and remove fish when they are caught.

"The seniors really enjoy having the kids onboard because they are able to talk and communicate with them - something they don't have the opportunity to do nowadays," Bosek noted.

In total, the event used about 15 pontoons, all of which were donated by Viking Sportsmen and people Bosek knew.

The bait and refreshments were also donated by Bosek Fisheries, Speedy Bait and Viking Coca-Cola.

"The seniors appreciate what we do so much, and they make the volunteers know it, so it is all worthwhile," she said.

Bosek gave a special thanks to Arrowwood Resort, which provides the use of their grounds, docks and their pontoon boats, Bosek Fisheries and Speedy Bait, Viking Coca-Cola, District 206 bus drivers, and all of the volunteers.

"The bus drivers brought the seniors to Arrowwood and then to the fish fry and back home. They were so friendly and cooperative," Bosek noted. "I wouldn't have been able to do this without all of my volunteers, but also without all the people who came."