This time next week, I will be driving to Marion, AR, for the 2015 Sultana Reunion–can you believe it’s almost here?! I know many will be traveling that same day with others expecting to arrive on Friday.
As you know, the Town of Marion has done an enormous amount of planning and work to put together the events for the reunion weekend. In addition, I’ve included a few more activities that I feel you will enjoy.
Here are the details:
1) Thursday evening get together, start 7 p.m.–This will in the large meeting room at the Hampton Inn. It will already be set up for a seminar the next day, but the good thing is we can use the tables and chairs as long as we leave the room the way we found it.
This will be a great time to meet/greet plus put up your personal displays. As many know, we encourage our members at each reunion to set up a display of items related to your ancestor’s story such as artifacts, photos, records, etc., anything that you would like to share with the rest of the group!
Name Tags–Those will be given out at the Hampton Inn at the registration desk manned by the Town planners. You can wear them Thursday evening and all weekend.
Ribbons for 2015–Also, I will be selling Thursday evening (and all weekend) ribbons for this year’s reunion that arrived at my home yesterday! A tradition started by member Richard Troup several years ago, we have been ordering ribbons unique for each reunion, always a different color with the specific dates and location for the reunion. We sell them for $2.00 each, just enough to recover the total cost. I ordered 100 for this special 150th anniversary event so will not be surprised if I sell out this year. I will also have with me ribbons from several prior years at the same price for those who would like to start a Sultana reunion ribbon collection.
2) Friday evening after dinner: The dinner starts at 6 p.m. at the Methodist Church. I assume it will be over about 7:30 or 8 allowing time to eat and have a program. Since many of our members will be arriving on Friday, we can continue our meeting and greeting at the Hampton Inn large activities room after this event concludes. I feel this time should again be made available since there will be many Sultana family members who will be attending their first reunion.
3) Sat. Riverboat Cruise: The maximum number of 150 diners was reached a few weeks ago. It did not work out as I had hoped that non diners will be allowed on board at a special spectator price so they could enjoy the trip with the other Sultana members and participate in the special remembrance ceremony. The ceremony will occur at the half way point, 7 miles up the Mississippi River, within the general area of the Sultana explosion.
Ceremony–The Town of Marion has provided a wreath that a couple of our members will toss overboard. Additionally, we’ve planned a unique ceremony that will allow each Sultana family descendant and friend (like Jerry Potter, Gene Slaecker, and me) to throw overboard a rose in remembrance of a particular Sultana passenger–red for those who survived and white for those who perished! This will replace the candlelight ceremony we conduct each year since no practical time was available to have this annual ritual.
4) Visiting the Sultana site on Sunday: Naturally, this activity depends on how dry the land is. If it’s too wet to make it to the final resting site of the Sultana, I’ve been told we can see the location if we go to the nearby levee. Also, there may be an extra site or two to visit such as the place where Mayor Fogleman’s ancestors lived who rescued scores of Sultana victims from the cold river.
We will meet at the Hampton Inn at noon Sunday and car pool leaving at 12:30 p.m. I’m glad that Jerry Potter will likely be our guide as originally planned. The time has been moved up some so that Jerry can keep his commitment to be one of the tour guides on the Sultana riverboat historic cruise that same afternoon at 3:30.
I need an idea of how many will be able to participate in this trip. So, if you plan to go, please email me so I can get a count. Also, tell me if you would like to drive or ride as a passenger. If driving, each vehicle should be able to hold 4 individuals comfortably, 5 if you have a minivan.
5) First showing of new Sultana documentary: I know many will have departed for home, but I hope there will be a good showing of our members Monday evening. There’s no cost!! Most, if not all, the historic organizations in Marion and Memphis will be invited to attend so, hopefully, all the 375 seats in the theater will be taken.
It will be a great time for all!! See you soon.