Friday, January 13, 2006

Mark Your Calendar: All-Central Reunion Scheduled for February 12, 2006

I just talked to Rich Bennett, the man who decided we needed to have an annual All-Central reunion and started organizing them in the 1980s. Rich, who's been known to crash the Class of 1965 reunions (the photo on the left is from our 25th reunion), says he had friends in lots of different classes and he wanted to create an event where everyone who attended Central could get together, eat pizza, drink beer, and reminisce.

In addition to bringing everyone who attended Central together in one place, there's something else that's unique about this reunion. Rich says his flyers for the event state it is open to "anyone who attended Central," but "non-Central spouses and friends are not included at this celebration." Although he says he's never enforced this provision, it provides some people with a good excuse.

From the beginning, Rich says he decided to make it easy for Centralites to remember when and where the reunion will be held each year. It's always at the same place (the VFW on Lakeside Street), always on the same day (the Sunday before Valentine's Day), and always starts at the same time (noon).

If you need this year's reunion information made absolutely clear, here are the specific details about time and location:

What : All Central Reunion
When: Sunday, February 12, 2006
Time: Noon until whenever
VFW Post 1318
133 E. Lakeside Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53715

There is no admission charge, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per person to pay for the following year's expenses. Rich has already ordered and paid for three half barrels of beer and 75 pizzas. He says donations from last year paid for all this year's goodies. That's a lot of beer and pizzas, but Rich says the turnout is usually 400-500 Centralites, although he acknowledges that number is likely to diminish over the next decade, since the youngest Centralites are now in their fifties.

There is also a bar at the VFW and you're welcome to buy your own drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Rich says the VFW loves being home to the All-Central reunion because the event runs up the highest bar tab of any other celebration, including weddings.

One word of warning to Centralites who still smoke and live outside of Madison. The City of Madison now forbids smoking in bars and has been enforcing this ordinance, much to the dismay of many tavern owners (who claim it will drive them out of business). If you want to smoke, you'll have to sneak outside (makes you feel like you're still in high school, doesn't it?).

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