Bathing beauties don Easter bonnets for watery parade

Mar 26 2013 - 6:42am

Images

Ilene Allen (right) laughs with Ginny Stein (left) and pool staff during the Easter hat parade for the Mermaids water aerobics class at Marshall White Community Center on Monday.  Allen made her hat out of a lampshade decorated with Easter toys, and Stein’s hat was filled with chocolates. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Participants in the Mermaids water aerobics class dance to the BeeGee’s “Stayin’ Alive” during their Easter hat parade at the Marshall White Community Center on Monday.  (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Rita Oliver smiles after winning first place for her hat, which she made out of a tomato cage with real carrots and beets hanging around the edges. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Aloha Whitney (left) and Julie Aldrich laugh during their Easter hat parade at the Marshall White Community Center on Monday. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Ilene Allen (right) laughs with Ginny Stein (left) and pool staff during the Easter hat parade for the Mermaids water aerobics class at Marshall White Community Center on Monday.  Allen made her hat out of a lampshade decorated with Easter toys, and Stein’s hat was filled with chocolates. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Participants in the Mermaids water aerobics class dance to the BeeGee’s “Stayin’ Alive” during their Easter hat parade at the Marshall White Community Center on Monday.  (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Rita Oliver smiles after winning first place for her hat, which she made out of a tomato cage with real carrots and beets hanging around the edges. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Aloha Whitney (left) and Julie Aldrich laugh during their Easter hat parade at the Marshall White Community Center on Monday. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- It wasn't a usual water aerobics morning at the Marshall White Center on Monday.

Instead, a parade broke out -- an Easter bonnet parade.

Several senior citizens took to the water wearing their bathing suits and fancy Easter bonnets in celebration of the holiday this week. The Easter bonnet parade and competition has become something of a tradition; it's now in its fourth year.

With the Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive" blaring on the loudspeaker, the women lined up and did a little march before getting in the water.

"We don't usually have music, but for this I thought listening to 'Stayin' Alive' was appropriate. It means a lot to us!" said Ilene Allen as tiny plastic eggs dangled from her bonnet -- made from a lampshade -- and around her face.

Allen started the event a few years ago to add some extra fun to the women's regular water aerobics routine. Now the group looks forward to it every year.

Each year, the women with the top three bonnets are awarded special prizes -- and nearly all participants get some kind of prize, donated by Allen.

Rita Oliver, who wore the winning bonnet, modeled for photos. Her hat was a "tomato cage," with gardening fabric at the bottom and an actual tomato cage attached to the top, with real carrots, beets and seed packets dangling down.

"She's got real carrots on her hat, folks," yelled Sara Mason, events coordinator at the Marshall White Center.

"(The seniors) are really the reason we stayed open. They fought the hardest for it," Mason said. "They are really the heart of this center. I have learned that they are just older girls. They gossip and giggle just like young girls."

Ginny Stein has been coming to the water aerobics class at the Marshall White Center since 1994, when there was only one class. Now there are three classes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

"It's not just for old people. Anyone can come, too," Stein said.

Oliver said she loves the fellowship she feels coming to the classes, and activities such as the parade make those feelings even stronger.

The women began putting the hats together about a month ago. Oliver said she thought of her tomato cage invention in the middle of the night and then just kept adding things.

Stein's hat was "edible," with chocolate Easter eggs attached to the top of a baseball hat with green plastic wrap over the top. She flung off her hat when she was ready for more serious exercise.

"You can just rip the paper off and dig in," she told everyone standing around the pool.

Water aerobics instructor Julie Aldrich said she loves seeing the creativity that comes from her friends every year.

"They are still coming up with new things."

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