A few people have written and asked why the weekend of Thanksgiving was chosen. Below is the explanation in case you're curious.
About the Date:
One of the hardest things about planning this reunion is accepting the impossibility of picking a date that works for everyone. My schedule is flexible right now. I have no personal stake in the date except that is impossible for me to do the necessary work to get this reunion ready by August or September.
Here are all of the reasons the date was chosen.
1. There are 3 groups of people. The people who stayed in Bakersfield. The people who left but still return to visit family. And finally, there are the people that have completely left and no longer have strong ties to Bakersfield. The majority of students are in the first two categories though I also know there are many in the third category. The date was chosen with an effort toward trying to accomadate the majority. However, I fully recognize that some locals may be planning to go out of town for Thanksgiving so the "date decision" was not an easy one.
2. Thanksgiving was chosen specifically to make it easier for people who live out of town but will be in Bakersfield for the holidays anyway. It would be harder for people to make a second trip in one year if they were planning on
coming for Thanksgiving, already.
3. With so much advance warning people can make plans now to stay in town or go to Bakersfield for the holiday.
4. Because of the desire to have a three-day event, a holiday weekend seems easier for people because they will have Thursday and Friday
5. People on the committe who work during the day will be free all day Friday to help get ready without having to take time off from work.
6. I talked to many people who have done reunions in the past and they say it's impossible to find a date that works for everyone. Since, Thanksgiving is a national holiday, I know most people at least have the time off.
7. Picking a famous date people know makes it incredibly easy to spread the word. Simply saying, "It's Thanksgiving weekend, 2006!", makes it very easy to remember and plan for. No one will be confused about the date.
8. A 20 year reunion is a once-in-a lifetime event. For people who really want to be there they will make the necessary adjustments to make it work. Some people won't attend even if we let them pick the date and have it in their own backyard.
9. A date had to be chosen ASAP so I made a decision.
10. For those of us who no longer live in Bakersfield I would much rather be there in a month like November or April when it isn't so hot. Last summer my family had a picnic on Thanksgiving and the weather was perfect
11. Cheryl Caswell, has graciously undertaken the task of contacting people. She is tireless. She has even visited the hall of records. She can vouch for how much time it takes to communicate with hundreds of people. Contacting each class member and asking them to tell us a good date and then trying to choose a date based on all that data feels impossible to me.
12. There is an option of having a pre-reunion. Anyone is free to organize something for those who can't do Thanksgiving. The more the merrier! I wouldn't be offended at all if someone wanted to organize it. I can't do it but I'll happily attend both. I strongly feel that this 3 day event is going to be an incredibly unique experience. But that doesn't mean that there couldn't be something else equally cool on a different date.
There are over 250 people in our class many of whom are not in the yearbook and not on classmates.com. It is going to take the next two months just to contact the majority of them. At this point we have located around 70 but everyday more people are coming out of the woodwork. People are confirming everyday. I believe the turn-out is going to be huge.
Many people have written and said, "the date is perfect cause I was planning on coming to town, anyway." The positive feedback I've gotten about the date far outweighs the negative though I wont deny I've heard from about 5 people who have concerns about the date.
Organizing this project is a huge undertaking. I spent 80 hours alone contructing the website. I'm not saying that to be apppreciated I'm saying it to illustrate how much time is involved in putting this together. I'm at a place in my life though right now where I have the time to devote to this. I am not married and have no kids. Some people have expressed a desire to help out but they also mention that their time is extremely limited due to family and work. So to get this thing done right, by November, I need to stay focused on the event and not the date of the event. The date is set.
Thanksgiving weekend, 2006, is the date and I really hope that people with concerns can figure out a way to make it work. It's going to be an awesome weekend!
Ronnie Larsen (May 2006)