Plans are in the works for an all-class reunion for Anoka High School.
The reunion is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20 from 8 p.m. to midnight, following the Anoka Halloween Light up the Night Parade.
The gathering will take place on Jackson Street, between Second and Third avenues, according to Class of 1972 alum Ross Omdahl. He, along with Pam Westlie and Buddy and Carol Hedberg have been organizing the first all-class reunion.
What started as an idea to expand a get-together of Westlie’s 1971 classmates, which have been using the Halloween bonfire as a place to reconnect, the idea has been picking up steam since February.
Organizers are now expecting as many as 5,000 people to converge downtown for the reunion, said Omdahl.
Back in May the organizers received approval from the Anoka City Council to close the Jackson Street for the reunion.
“We’re going to have four check-in points where people can get badged with their class year,” said Omdahl.
Then the street will have certain areas designated and signed for five-year class blocks, starting at 1960 and older.
The first graduating class in Anoka dates back to 1881.
According to information provided by the Anoka County Historical Society, Anoka High School also has graduated more students than any other school in the state, said Omdahl.
To date 137,000 students have earned a diploma from Anoka High School.
The Light up the Night parade already has a reputation for bringing in a big crowd to downtown Anoka, but the all-class reunion should boost those numbers by the thousands.
The reunion is free and does not include pre-registration. It is also being included on Anoka Halloween’s official event listings.
Omdahl said he hopes more food vendors can be solicited for the area north of city hall where the community bonfire is held to keep up the the reunion visitors.
Along with meet-ups with old classmates, the reunion will also give Anoka alumnae a chance to walk the halls of their alma mater.
The three buildings used as Anoka’s high schools over the years – the Sandburg building (1905 to 1953) and current Anoka Middle School for the Arts (1954-1971) and Anoka High School (1972 to present) – will all be open on Sunday, Oct. 21 for tours from noon to 2 p.m.
At the high school there will be students on hand to give tours and past yearbooks out on display for a trip down memory lane.
“This has really gone from a one night thing to a weekend event,” said Omdahl, who worked for the Anoka-Hennepin School District for 20 years as a custodian at Sandburg Middle School.
Specially designed t-shirts are also on sale now for $10, with any proceeds being used to help cover costs associated with the reunion. T-shirts will also be on sale at the reunion, and a second printing will be available if demand outpaces the committee’s supply.
For more information, please contact Omdahl at 763-421-7046.
Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]