Harmar Place residents spent Sunday afternoon at the races and a tailgate party, thanks largely to fellow resident and NASCAR fan Austin Heslop.
"I've always followed the NASCAR races since the 1970s," he said. "I'm a Jeff Gordon fan. I just think he's a very sensible driver."
Delores Barth, activities director at Harmar Place, said Heslop, who grew up in the Dart area of Washington County, recently asked a nurse at lunch if there was a NASCAR race he could watch that day.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Austin Heslop watched the Nascar race broadcast live from the Magic Mile raceway in Loudon, N.H., with fellow residents at a Harmar Place tailgate party Sunday.
"The nurse asked us about it, so we set up a tailgate party for residents to watch the NASCAR race on television right here," Barth said.
Sunday's lunch included hot dogs, chips and non-alcoholic "near beer," as well as other foods fit for a tailgating banquet. Residents were seated around tables spread with black-and-white checkered flag tablecloths.
A cardboard cutout of NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon stood beside the big-screen television and a banner that read, "Welcome Race Fans."
About Harmar Place:
Harmar Place Rehabilitation and Extended Care is a 86-bed skilled nursing facility located at 401 Harmar St. in Historic Harmar Village, a Marietta neighborhood near the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers.
For more information, go to www.mmhospital.org/harmarplace
"Just because you go into a nursing facility doesn't mean you can't keep having fun," Barth said.
Heslop was thrilled to be watching Sunday's NASCAR race that was being broadcast live from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
"I've always loved racing, and even rode in one race years ago at a local speedway," he said.
Todd Frank of Marietta sat at the table near Heslop.
"I think Danica Patrick should be the obvious choice for a favorite NASCAR driver," he said. "I don't follow NASCAR as closely as I used to. So when in doubt, I go for the driver with the good looks."
When he did follow NASCAR, Frank said his driver was Richard Petty.
"That was some time ago," he said.
Barth said activities like the NASCAR party are appreciated by residents.
"We go out to eat at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Mineral Wells twice a month, and we take them out on country drives every other week," she said. "There's a residents' council meeting every month where they talk about things they would like to do, and we try to accommodate them if we can."
Barth said some other activities include cookouts during good weather, and just last month some zoo animals were brought to the Harmar Place parking lot where residents were invited to see and pet them.
"They loved it," she said. "And we try to provide some kind of special events all year long."
Barth noted that some Harmar Place residents just want to rest up during their time at the facility, and that's OK, too.