These reunions started in 1997 with a get-together hosted at the home of my great-aunt Bea (Grandma's sister) and her husband Bert, then living in Williston, ND. They and their children organized a weekend of activities over the Fourth of July, and we have made that holiday our scheduled time of year for Aune family reunions. The next one was in 2002, hosted by the family of my great-aunt June (Grandma's sister, who died last fall) and her husband Bobby in Minot, ND. The last one was in 2005, hosted by the family of my grandma Olga and her husband John (both deceased by then) and held at Grandma and Grandpa's former home (now my uncle's house) on my dad's farm between McGregor and Battleview, ND.
That makes it Bea's family's turn to host again, and her daughter Shelley (and her husband Kevin) invited everyone to Eagan, MN (where they live) this weekend for the 2009 reunion. Susan, the girls, and I left Dickinson just after 5:00 A.M. (6:00 A.M. in Eagan) so that we'd have plenty of time to stop as needed along the way and to check in to our hotel before attending the first event of the reunion: registration followed by supper at Blackhawk Park.
Bea's kids are good organizers: they arranged for a shuttle between the hotel and the park so that people who didn't wish to drive wouldn't have to; and when we checked in at the park's pavilion, they collected money for tomorrow night's catered supper; they had us update our contact information (phone numbers, mailing and e-mail addresses) so that they can make a spreadsheet to distribute before the weekend is over; they had us sign up to provide entertainment after supper tomorrow; they distributed water bottles, key chains, and candies with "Aune" printed on them; and they collected money for the cookbooks that they had had made using recipes that we had submitted over the past few months.
Furthermore, they arranged for a discount for a block of rooms at our hotel for all us out-of-towners attending the reunion. Consequently most of us are staying at the same hotel and will be able to see one another even when not gathered for the various planned events of the reunion. There were lots of mini-reunions in the lobby, parking lot, and hallways of the hotel this afternoon; and tonight, after returning from the park, many of us gathered to snack, drink, and visit in a meeting area just outside our rooms. Very convenient!
When the shuttle arrived at the park and we disembarked, we were greeted by this sign in the parking lot:
(Another one beside it said "Parking for Lefse Lovers Only.") We made our way up the hill to the pavilion and registered. Soon pizza was delivered, and we ate, drank, and visited. The kids played together on the nearby playground equipment, on the even nearer-by volleyball court, and on the hiking trails in the park. It was a great setting for our get-together!
The pavilion is basically a V-shaped covered patio with a building attached to the corner of the V. There are tables with benches arranged all over the patio, and the building houses a kitchenette and restrooms. The brick wall behind these visiting relatives belongs to the kitchen/restroom building.
Next to one leg of the V is this amphitheatre-ish area surrounding a fire pit and overlooking the volleyball court. After supper, the kids roasted marshmallows here for s'mores.
It has been good to see so many relatives, including my own two sisters (from NE and OR) and my dad and stepmom (from ND), here for the reunion. Stay tuned for more throughout the weekend!