All-School Reunion was a success

The event welcomed in alumni from as far away as Hawaii.

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Crowds start to form at the start of the Johnny Holm Band concert on Friday, June 10, at the Wadena County Fairgrounds.
Contributed / Randy Taggart
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WADENA — With perfect weather, big crowds and most all events going smoothly, the 2022 All-School Reunion will go down in history as a success.
"I think it was very successful," event organizer Joyce Boyne said of the event. "I never heard a negative comment."
And she heard a lot of comments being at the center of activity for much of the event along with fellow registration table volunteers. They welcomed in about 260 pre-registered guests and believe another 200 registered upon arrival. Based on the crowds at the major music events on Friday and Saturday night, it's likely many more alumni attended without registering. Many members of the public dropped in just to take in the entertainment, including main acts from The Johnny Holm Band and Arch Allies. It's estimated 600-700 attended the Friday night event and 800-900 attended the Saturday night event. These events were open to all.
Boyne even found time to meet up with her class as they celebrated their 55th year since graduation. She welcomed in classmates from as far away as San Antonio, Texas and Florida.
One highlight of the event included an education foundation luncheon where about 200 people were served. School tours were also a hit with many groups taking advantage of a quick look at the facilities. Choir director Mike Ortmann helped with some school tours and said doing so was a "ton of fun."
School board member, volunteer and former teacher, Barb Tumberg expressed how fun it was to see people's faces as they entered the "new to them" facility.
"It was excellent. It was really a lot of fun," she said.
Planning committee member Jennifer Westrum found the collaboration between the All-School Reunion committee and the Wadena Chamber to be a great match to make this event shine.
"After two and a half years of planning, we had a fantastic event," she said. "It took so many people to pull this off."
The only event unable to take place was the visit from entertainer Mylo Hatzenbuhler, who was unable to perform as he had to have emergency surgery for a detached retina. "Mylo the Silo" was scheduled to perform on Saturday and Sunday.

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The Class of 1944 included Roger Folkestad, who is getting a ride from his son Curt.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

"It was a great weekend," Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Lee Westrum said. "Turnout for the All-School Reunion was outstanding and working in conjunction with the Wadena Area Chamber/June Jubilee provided activities for everyone to enjoy. It was nice to see so many alumni and community members enjoying the festivities. We were also blessed with great weather, and considering what happened in 2010, that is a big deal."

About the only rain received during the events was overnight. Other days of the weekend were mostly sunny but not too hot. It made for a warm but pleasant parade on the pavement on Saturday.

All School Reunion photos
Class of 1976 members caught up inside the Wadena-Deer Creek School on Friday, June 10, 2022.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

"A big thank you to all of our sponsors and volunteers, it was a team effort and I am really pleased with how everything turned out. Also, thank you to the Wadena Fire Department for being on hand for the fireworks, the Wadena Police Department and the Wadena County Sheriff's Department for all their work throughout the weekend and the Wadena County Ag Society for hosting Johnny Holm and Arch Allies at the Fairgrounds."
In talking to some members of the classes from the 1970s, coming back to Wadena was a bit of a shock as they saw just how much smaller the town felt. Some of those class sizes were in the 150-170 range, more than three times that of this year's graduating class (52).
Even so, they came back by the droves to reunite and catch up on the years gone by.
More than a few alumni took a drive down the old "drag" and were surprised to hear that the young crowd doesn't do that anymore. Some things do change.
When the topic of the next all-school reunion came up, it was likely something the school would attempt again in 10-15 years. No reason to wait another 40 years.
"We are looking for the next planning committee," according to Jennifer Westrum. After planning for this one took the last two and a half years, it's likely most of the current committee is ready to tap out.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in the city of Verndale, Minn., but is bent on making it as country as he can until he returns once more to the farm living he enjoys. Also living the dream are his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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