Ms. Senior Mulberry Pageant Showcases Women Who Embrace Healthy Aging

Eighty-three-year-old Celia Harris put her hands to her face and shed a tear when she heard that she was the 2017 Ms. Senior Mulberry Pageant winner. For a moment, she found it tricky to balance her tiara and hug her husband, Robert, and family members while emcee Scot Haney congratulated her. When reality set in, Harris modeled the winner’s sash proudly as she posed for photos with judges Kathy Faber, clothing designer, Kim Beaudoin, Mrs. Connecticut USA Universal 2016, and Alyssa Taglia, Miss Connecticut 2016.

The eighth annual pageant at Mulberry Gardens of Southington was held June 2. Haney, WFSB-Channel 3 TV personality, joked freely with the standing room-only crowd and the 12 contestants who are Mulberry Gardens residents or members of the Southington or Marian Heights adult day centers. He interviewed the women, based on their biographies which revealed the interesting and active lives they have led and their upbeat approach to life.

One participant, Rita Cerbasie, had just celebrated her 100th birthday. Another, Annette Krechevsky had auditioned for the Rockettes in her youth and enjoyed a few high kicks with Haney.

Harris (known as “Ceil”) was one of nine children, born and married in New Britain where she and her husband raised three children. She was a bookkeeper at Kay’s Jewelers and later worked for the New Britain Board of Education. She and her husband recently became members of the Marian Heights Adult Day Center in New Britain. Her secret to staying young? “My husband,” she said to applause when she noted the couple has been married 63 years.

Other winners were Millie Arena, Most Talented; Rita Cerbasie, Most Sophisticated; Rose Griffin, Nicest Smile; Jacqueline “Jackie” Hafner, Most Energetic; Marylen Hossan, Second Runner-up; Annette Krechevsky, First Runner-up; Loretta LaFreniere, Miss Congeniality; Diane Meola, Nicest Eyes; Joan Miron, Best Laugh; Margaret Verzulli, Most Elegant; and Marilyn White, Best Sense of Humor.

Many participants credited Mulberry Gardens’ caring staff and active lifestyle with keeping them feeling young. “This is a great place to live,” said contestant Jacqueline Hafner.

Mulberry Gardens