OAKLAND -- Seniors are invited to a festival Thursday that will include 80 educational and resource booths promoting healthy living and successful aging.

More than 2,000 seniors from throughout Alameda County are expected to attend the 11th annual event, which is organized by the United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County. The free festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Road.

In addition to getting health and wellness information, the Healthy Living Festival will give seniors a chance to sign petitions asking U.S. Congress to put an end to a loophole that allows hospitals to hold Medicare patients for days without admitting them, festival organizers said. This can result in seniors facing unexpected medical bills and denial of coverage for skilled nursing facility care that Medicare usually covers for in-patients, organizers said.

Seniors will be given a chance to sign petitions urging Congress to pass the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act, and to reauthorize the Older Americans Act and invest in its programs, such as Meals on Wheels, adult day care and disease prevention and outreach, festival organizers said.

"We need to make sure that critical safety net programs and federal and state budget levels stay on pace with the growing senior population," said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, founder and president of USOAC.

Seniors can participate in health screenings, tai chi and Zumba classes, a resource fair, and also listen to blues music, have a chance to win raffle prizes, dispose of unwanted or expired medications, watch Folklorico dancers, and hear a talk from Miley.

Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.