NEWBURYPORT — Decades of public service and longstanding ties to the community are among the traits shared by Salisbury resident Larry Quinn and Joyce Cejka of Newburyport. The duo were recently named this year’s Senior King and Queen of Yankee Homecoming, the weeklong celebration highlighting the best of the Clipper City. This year’s festivities are scheduled from July 28 to Aug. 4.
Per the longstanding tradition, longtime Newburyport senior citizens are crowned during every Yankee Homecoming in a ceremony organized by the Newburyport Council on Aging. A dinner recognizing the ascension of Quinn and Cejka to the throne will be held Wednesday, July 31, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 11 Hale St., Newburyport. Tickets are $10 each.
Diann May, chairwoman of the Senior King and Queen Celebration, said candidates must be 60 years or older, nominated by someone else and have performed community service in the Greater Newburyport area. Recently, past kings and queen gathered together to hear biographies of all the candidates without knowing their identities, and then voted.
“Both of them are very qualified,” May said, adding that past kings and queens take the process very seriously.
A native of Newburyport, Quinn has been married to his wife, Mary, for 48 years. For the last 20 years, they have lived on Beach Road in Salisbury. Quinn co-founded the Link House, a residential program that helps men and women overcome drug and alcohol abuse, and served as its first executive director in 1973. Last year, Quinn was honored at the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Roast as the recipient of the Irishman of the Year Award.
“I was really shocked,” Quinn said when told he was named this year’s Yankee Homecoming king.
Since being informed of the honor, Quinn said friends and family have treated him a little different.
“I’ve had people present me with a crown, and bowing to me and stuff like that. It’s all in fun,” Quinn said, who jokingly added that he told Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins he’d like a police escort during his reign as king.