GECC hosts annual senior pageant Feb. 9

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Over at the Gwinnett Extended Care Center, five ladies are primping, preening and preparing up for Thursday's annual senior's pageant at the center to compete for the top title, Ms. GECC 2012. This year's theme is "The Queens of Heart" and each participant will be given a rose corsage, heart wand, a homemade sash and a silver crown.

"We have a good time and get everyone together," said Rita Davis, GECC Activity Director. "We get them all prettied up because we do their hair, make up, everything right there at the facility."

Takes three months for GECC to prepare the pageant, but it takes the Gwinnett Hospital Systems Auxiliary's volunteers up to a year to plan the decorations. Head of decorating, Ann Still, will spend many hours today hanging embellishments, moving tables and setting up center pieces for the big show. She was also in charge of making the sashes and ordering the crowns.

"I just have the best time with this every year," Still said. "They love wearing their crowns afterwards too."

This year, there are five women competing for the highest title. They are Anna Marie Beck, 82, Elizabeth Dobbs, 85, Bunnie Nix, 93, Mary Catherine Johnson, 72, and Katie Nickson, 98

The emcee is Gwinnett Medical Center of Lawrenceville's COO, Jay Dennard, who knows how to charm the ladies, according to Davis. Last year, he was given a surprise pinch on the bottom from one of the contestants.

"You put a guy in the mix of five women, no matter what age, they get giddy and carry on," Davis said with a laugh.

The judges this year are Miss Gwinnett Queen, Reba Shelby Jack, Gwinnett Medical Center of Lawrenceville's Executive Vice President, Jeff Nowlin, and Gwinnett Health System Board of Directors, David McCleskey.

"There will be a house full -- it's always packed," Davis said. "There will be a line out the front door for the pageant."

The winner has opportunity to go on to compete for Ms. Georgia Nursing Home 2012 in March.

The pageant is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. The GECC is located at 650 Professional Drive in Lawrenceville.