Thursday was the perfect end to the 2011 Carbon County Senior Games.
Over 100 participants from Weatherly, Panther Valley, Lehighton, Jim Thorpe and Palmerton attended a banquet at Mahoning Valley Ambulance Hall to recognize the winner of the games, as well as reminisce with friends about memories that were made during the eight-day event. Lehighton placed first with a score of 746.
As the banquet began, Anne Horrigan, coordinator of the games, welcomed and thanked everyone for making the games another successful year.
"It's been a wonderful 2011 Senior Games," she said. "It's great to see everyone out."
Commissioners William O'Gurek and Wayne Nothstein both addressed the participants and thanked them for making the games such a success
Nothstein said all the participants were winners.
"We hope you all had a great time and we look forward to seeing you next year," O'Gurek added.
Cheri Santore, director of the Carbon County Area Agency on Aging, then addressed the audience, thanking everyone for their support to make the games possible.
Horrigan then thanked her staff for everything they did to help make the games go off without a hitch.
Following the guest speakers, Victor Pituch, director of the games, awarded Palmerton with the Victor Pituch Good Sportsmanship Award, an annual award that is given to a team that shows great sportsmanship throughout the games; and the Lehighton team with the Commissioners Cup trophy and plaque with a picture of the team to hang in the senior center for their win.
Pituch then spoke briefly to everyone, stating that he is glad he has had such amazing people there to help him organize this growing event.
Some newcomers to the games also weighed in on the events.
Diana Bochantin of the Jim Thorpe team said, "It was the best. I was so glad people recommended this to us."
She and her husband are new to the area, having moved to the Jim Thorpe School District only 15 months ago.
"I met so many good people through the games. It was wonderful."
Paul Schlecht of the Lehighton team, also said he was thrilled he joined.
"I enjoyed the games," he said. "The people were very friendly.
He added that he didn't win any medals this year, but "I'm going to come back next year with a vengence."
James Ketchledge of the Lehighton team also said he enjoyed the games. He won several medals during the games.
John Leslie Sr. of the Panther Valley team said he didn't know what to expect when he decided to join the games, but he was happy he did.
He met a lot of people and enjoyed participating.
Marge Banta, also of the Panther Valley team, noted that there is nothing like the senior games in New Jersey, where she is originally from.
"It's great," she said.
The Senior Games began in 1988 under the direction of Pituch and has grown over the years. Next year will mark the game's 24th anniversary.