So your family has designated you the family reunion coordinator? Hundreds of family members will be coming to town and counting on you to tell them where to go and what to do when they arrive.
No problem. The DeKalb County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (DCVB) has you covered. The DCVB is offering a free workshop Feb. 22 that is part of an 11-month series where hosts can learn all they need to know about planning a family reunion.
“We really try to make the workshop and showcase a one-stop shop for your family reunion needs. From budgets and potential charges to writing invitation letters for family members and gift bags, we do all we can to ensure a successful family reunion for you and yours,” said Carol Murray, who has led the workshops for 16 years. “Most family reunion coordinators are given the position because other family members volunteer them or they live in the location where the family wants to meet. We understand that stress and we are always here to help.”
Murray says DeKalb hosts anywhere from 300 – 400 family reunions annually.
“In preparation of all the families coming to DeKalb, we will host 12 workshops this year. Some will be at hotels and some will be at local libraries as Lunch and Learns,” said Murray. “We haven’t hosted that many workshops in the past, but the numbers are growing in attendance and in family reunions. That means more money will be spent in DeKalb and more people will receive valuable education going into their reunions. Everybody wins.”
Jessie Bridges is one of the winners. Her family originates from the small town of Louisville, Mississippi, and wanted to move its reunion outside the state for the first time in family history.
Bridges says the Clark-Docher family reunion is held once every other year.
“I had months to plan for our reunion and I was stressed out about the whole thing. With about 150 people waiting on my plans, Carol and her staff are who kept me sane,” said Bridges, who attended a March 2013 workshop with her sister, Abigail Thompson.
The workshop included a showcase where vendors and DJs display their best to hopefully, gain new customers looking for family reunion services. Attendees meet photographers, T-shirt printers, representatives from Georgia parks, area attractions, caterers and transportation services, which can service reunions ranging from 50 to 500 or more people.
“We received packages from Stone Mountain Park so we could have catering, volleyball and access to everything in the park, even the laser show. The reunion was a three-day process, but we saved hundreds of dollars because the workshop staff provided us with free name tags, welcoming bags and free souvenirs,” said Bridges. “It was so great because the workshop gave me a heads up on the worst things that could happen. With all the plans set, everybody in the family, the young, old and in between, everybody had something to do and enjoy.”
Bridges said family members left Stone Mountain Park saying, “This is the best one yet. How will we ever top this family reunion?”
For more information on the free workshops or how to get help in planning your family reunion, call 770-492-5050, ext. 1070 or visit visitatlantasdekalbcounty.com. You can also get family reunion tips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DeKalbCountyFamilyReunions.
Here is a schedule of free workshops the DeKalb Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is sponsoring:
Saturday, Feb. 22: Marriott Evergreen Conference Resort, 4021 Lakeview Drive Stone Mountain.770-879-9900. www.evergreenresort.com.
Saturday, March 15: Courtyard by Marriott Decatur, 130 Clairemont Ave., Decatur. 404-371-0204. www.courtyarddecatur.com.
Saturday, March 22: Beulah Baptist Church, 2340 Clifton Springs Road Decatur. 404-241-3307. www.beulahbaptist.org.
Saturday, April 12: Fairfield Inn & Suites Stonecrest, 7850 Stonecrest Square Lithonia. 770-484-9993. www.marriott.com/atlln.
Saturday, May 17: Hampton Inn Stone Mountain, 1737 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain. 770-934-0004. www.hampton-inn.com/hi/atl-stonemount.
Saturday, June 21: Comfort Inn Suites, Northlake 2060 Crescent Centre Boulevard, Tucker. 770-496-1070. www.comfortsuites.com.
Saturday, July 19: Hyatt Place, 7900 Mall Ring Road Lithonia. 770-484-4384. www.hyattplace.com.
Saturday, Aug. 16: Stars and Strikes Entertainment Center, 1741 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain. 678-209-0732. www.starsandstrikes.com.
Saturday, Sept. 20: Doubletree Hotel Atlanta, NE/Northlake 4156 Lavista Road, Tucker. 770-938-1026. www.godoubletree.com.
Saturday, Nov. 15: Hilton Garden Inn Stonecrest, 7890 Mall Ring Road, Lithonia. 678-526-1000. www.atlantaeaststonecrest.gardeninn.com.