Two hundred seniors filled the Costa Mesa Senior Center Thursday for a sold-out pre-Independence Day celebration.
The party was the first major event that city staff has put on since the City Council voted to terminate the city's previous agreement with the center in June, effectively starting a 90-day takeover process.
Municipal officers have said the actions were needed to address the center's failing finances, reduction in programs and services, and complaints of poor treatment of seniors.
City Assistant CEO Tammy Letourneau hopes that the celebration's success will encourage seniors who abandoned the center under its previous leadership to return.
"The party is a chance to show seniors what the city is able and willing to do for them," she said.
By late morning, the party was in full swing with the recreation room decked out with red, white and blue tablecloths, napkins, balloons and other Independence Day decorations.
Costa Mesa firefighters and police officers served In-N-Out burgers and fries, as the seniors listened to a live band and waited for Bingo to commence.
Edwina Worsham, 90, who has frequented the center since it opened in 1992, chatted with a group of friends while she waited for lunch.
"This is the best event the center has put on in years," she said.
For many seniors, including Worsham, the party marked a return to happy times at the center.
"The city went all out for the senior community," said former Senior Center Board member Ernie Feeney. "They have not had anyone go all out for them in a long time."
The cost of the party was not available by press time.