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Claflin community rallies for all school reunion
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Claflin will hold its All School Reunion this weekend. The community event draws people from all ages and all class years with activities including foot races, craft shows, beer gardens and live entertainment, plus bounce houses and fun for the kids. Claflin has held the event on Memorial Day weekend for many years, as this 2011 photo shows. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Rural high school class reunions offer a unique experience that can’t be duplicated by larger districts.  With graduating classes numbering in the double digits, an intimacy that draws the whole community in, and a “the more the merrier” attitude prevails.  The class year takes back seat to the school and the town the graduate came from.
Claflin’s All School Reunion will include a full slate of activities Saturday and Sunday.  But this get-together isn’t only for classmates, event organizer Murine Prosser said.  
“This is a whole community event,” she said.  “There will be something for every person, every age group, so we want everyone to feel welcome and come out.”
In the past few years, a new energy can be felt, Prosser said, and this year is no different.  People from the community have been working diligently to get the word out to classmates and make preparations to ensure showcasing Claflin in its best light.   The unveiling of a new museum, a time capsule burial and new Business Olympics games are among some of the unique events this year.
Friday night, classmates are encouraged to attend a meet-and-greet starting at 7 p.m. at the Odin Store, four miles west and three miles north of Claflin. A D.J. will be on hand to play favorites from years past and present, Prosser said.  That’s just the appetizer.

Saturday, Claflin showcases its active spirit, kicking off the weekend event with a 5K and 10K fun run at 7:30 a.m., sponsored by the Claflin Rec.  Registration begins at 7 a.m.
The Claflin Library opens at 9:30 and will be open until 6 p.m. for gathering.  Shops in Claflin will be open for shopping, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the school buildings and Claflin’s historical museum will be open for self-guided tours and a walk down Memory Lane.  
At noon, a time capsule burial ceremony is planned at the Claflin City Hall, followed by an afternoon of fun.  At 1 p.m. the Claflin pool will open, and from 1 - 5 p.m. visitors can choose between taking part in the Claflin mud run or a three-on-three basketball tournament at the Claflin Rec gymnasium.  Food venders and the beer garden opens at 4 p.m., and kids are welcome to enjoy the bounce house fun from 4 - 8 p.m.
Live music will then take the stage at 8 p.m. as the street dance gets underway.  Ronnie and the Rockets will be the featured entertainment until midnight.  

Sunday, breakfast will be an open air affair when Chris Cakes Pancake Feed takes over the beer garden tent from 7 - 10 a.m.  Food venders and schools and the museum open again at 10 a.m., and at 11 a.m., the parade lineup starts.  The Claflin All School Reunion parade, featuring class and organization floats, will start at 11:30 a.m.
An afternoon car show, touch a truck event and craft show will be ongoing through the afternoon.  The pool and library will also be open.  At 4 p.m., the beer garden and bounce house reopen, and 6 p.m., teams from area businesses will compete in the Business Olympics.  Last year was a first for this event.  Freddy Fox and the Hot Rods will provide the music for Sunday’s street dance, from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.  

To round out the weekend, Monday morning the Claflin chapter of the Knights of Columbus has organized a golf tournament at the Claflin golf course.  Over 100 participants have already registered for the event.  Funds raised from the tournament will go to provide support for local organizations like the new Claflin Historical Museum, which plans to purchase and install a wheel chair lift to provide all-inclusive access to the museum.  
At 10 a.m., the Claflin Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter will conduct a Memorial Day service at Claflin’s Pleasant View Cemetery.  The public is invited to attend the event, and County Commissioner Alicia Straub will speak.