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City tuning up for musical event

As young people gear up for summer’s many festivals, concertsand parties into the night, the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamberof Commerce is preparing an afternoon of music and fellowshipspecifically for the city’s older generation.

Beginning at noon on Thursday, the chamber will host June Tunesin the Park, an event dedicated especially to Brookhaven’s largeretirement community. The event will take place in Railroad Park,and will feature local country artist Chad Simmons as musicalguest. Lemonade and other refreshments will be served at JuneTunes, and door prizes will be given away.

Rob McBeth, who chairs the chamber’s committee on retirees andtourism, said June Tunes in the Park is expected to be animprovement over last year’s event, which was held in May.

“Last year, we had about 60 people show up, but I’d be upset ifwe didn’t have a couple hundred this year,” he said.

McBeth said June Tunes in the Park, which currently stands as anannual event, will transition into a quarterly event if this year’sinstallment is successful.

McBeth’s primary duty as chairman of the retirees and tourismcommittee is to promote the Homeseekers Paradise as a retirementcommunity. He is charged with contacting potential retirees to thearea, encouraging them to settle here and maintaining contact withthem once they arrive. June Tunes in the Park is a social extensionof those duties, he said.

McBeth said the afternoon mini-festival is a way of bringing thecity’s retirees together, not only for their own networkingbenefits, but for the younger generations as well.

“Our retirees have such a pool of knowledge out there the cityis not aware of,” he said. “With an event like this, that pool ispulled together. It’s only about fellowshipping – they know peopleand things that we don’t know. They are a source of knowledge thatis beneficial communitywide, and if we could tap into thatknowledge, we’d all be more successful. Senior citizens are ablessing.”

McBeth said even though the event is dedicated to seniors andretirees, people of all ages are encouraged to attend andencouraged to approach and question Brookhaven’s elderly. He saidsenior citizens have much to teach us, but, for the most part, theyremain silent until asked directly.

“With events like this, it allows the younger people to delve inand talk to these people,” he said. “Countless amounts of knowledgecan be gained – not just history, but many aspects. Our retireesand seniors know about marketing, medicine, family values and howto raise your children. There’s so much we can learn from them, butit is often gone to waste because we don’t walk up to ’em and ask.Well, I’m asking.”

McBeth said that, as a retirement community, senior citizenscarry the banner for Brookhaven.

Cliff Brumfield, executive vice president of the chamber ofcommerce, said June Tunes in the Park is a way of honoring andcatering to retirees – thanking them for carrying the banner. Hebacked up McBeth’s claim of the benefits of disseminating theknowledge of retirees.

“June Tunes in the Park brings a pool of talented families intothe area that give back through volunteer efforts, leadership andshared life experiences,” he said.

Brumfield pointed out retirees not only give back to the city interms of knowledge, but also serve as a “tremendous boost” for thelocal economy.

“Brookhaven is one of Mississippi’s oldest certified retirementcommunities,” he said. “Our retirement community is huge, and theygive back to us in several ways.”

Brumfield said retirees and seniors have extra buying power as aresult of years of hard work, saving and investment.

“They add back to our local economy not only by the staple itemsthey purchase, but by the expendable dollars they spend onrecreation while enjoying the fruits of their many years in theworkforce,” he said.