COLUMBIA CITY — The smell of chili and the sounds of vendors and friendships filled the Whitley County Council on Aging Oct. 20 as the organization held its annual Senior Health Fair.

Every year, the fair features a free lunch and a slew of vendors with services to help seniors improve their quality of life. This year, 30 vendors were in attendance.

“This event gives seniors with poor mobility a chance to see vendors and people they normally wouldn’t get to see,” said Darlene Bockelman, who works for the council.

Jane Everly, an attendee at the event, agreed with Bockelman.

Jane Everly and Carolyn Roebuck pose for a photo at the fair.

“I think [the fair] is wonderful,” she said. “You see people you haven’t seen in years. I’ve already met a few friends here.”

The health fair is just one of the many programs put on by the council, including the Whitley County Transportation.

According to Bockelman, the program is the only public transportation system available for all Whitley County residents.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that it is donation only for our seniors,” she said. “It really is one of the best services we have available.”

Trips with the service are $3 one way in Columbia City and $6 one way to any destination in the county.

For more information about programs offered by the council, visit the website at or call 248-8944.