Seniors canasta group to mark game’s 60th anniversary Nov. 18

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This year commemorates the 60th anniversary of the card game canasta.

To celebrate, the senior citizens canasta group at Kingston Community Center will have an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 18.  

Activities for the Kingston celebration will include canasta lessons and demonstrations.

Refreshments will be served during the event, which is free and geared toward all ages.

Call the Kingston Community Center at 376-1356 for details.

Canasta was created in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1939, and its popularity quickly spread throughout Uruguay, Argentina, Chili and Peru.

That popularity spread to the United States after World War II, and canasta took hold as a favorite pastime in 1950.

“An epidemic swept across this nation affecting millions of people and lasting for many years,” wrote Philip E. Orbanes in an article, “The Canasta Story.”

“No corner of the country was safe; it reached into homes in every city and every country town. For-
tunately, the epidemic was not fatal. In fact, people felt better because of it. The epidemic was called canasta.”

Orbanes, a former senior vice president of research and development for Parker Brothers, said the game’s popularity grabbed the media’s notice.

“The nation’s leading magazines wrote stories about it,” he wrote in his article. “Newsweek reported that canasta now rivaled Monopoly and mahjong, the two biggest games of all time.”