Melbye says committee hopes to crunch the numbers this week
All in all, Wayne Melbye has no major complaints about the 2014 Crookston All-School Reunion that took place June 26-29. On the contrary, he told the Times he thinks attendance was good, many of the activities were popular, and some things even garnered "rave reviews," such as the bus transportation that made sure people got to where they needed to go safely and as rapidly as possible.
The weather could have been better, Melbye added, but he was quick to note that "it could have been a whole lot worse, too."
If one goes by the weather forecast for much of that weekend, it was downright gloomy as the reunion weekend neared, with lots of rain and thunderstorms predicted. As it turns out, the rain was more sporadic and spotty than forecast, but Melbye said it was still a bit of a hassle.
"It seemed like whenever we really started to get a crowd for something (at Town Square), then the weather kicked in," he said. "It kind of beat us up after a while."
The great unknown going into the reunion was rooted in finances, and there's still a lack of clarity today. As the planning committee led by Melbye realized how much money they'd have to come up with up-front to cover various deposits and other costs, the Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) Board of Directors OK'ed a $10,000 loan to keep reunion plans moving along.
But it appears that, while reunion attendance was pretty strong, a lot of people didn't pay the $15 per-person registration fee, either because they weren't sure how they'd benefit from paying it, or they figured they'd spend most of their reunion weekend at activities at bars and elsewhere, and not at the reunion's home base, Town Square.
Melbye said the committee is hoping to meet later this week to get a better grasp of how much money the reunion brought in, and how much more it would still like to bring in, even though the event has come and gone.
"We've had some folks say they would step up and help us out if we're in trouble," Melbye said, adding that the PayPal service at the reunion website, crookstonallschool.com, remains active, and that an effort to get the word out to people, via social media and other avenues, that they could still help the reunion financially will likely launch very soon.
"We had a lot of folks, I think, who maybe golfed all day or did other things, and then they met up with their classes somewhere and didn't spend much time at Town Square," Melbye explained. "Maybe we'll try to get to their conscience a little bit. If they had a lot of fun but maybe didn't pay the registration fee, we'll try to get to them that way."
The previous all-school reunion in 2002 had approximately 4,000 registrations. Melbye said the committee this time around based its budget on getting half that many people to register and pay. He's guessing that maybe 1,500 registered. "If we would have known we'd be down on registrations, maybe we wouldn't have planned some of the more grandiose things we did," he said.
But, overall, he's not complaining.
"There were no law enforcement issues, the hospital said they weren't getting any reunion business, so that's obviously good," Melbye said. "In those respects, things couldn't have gone better."