Havre Daily News
For Roger Taylor and Carol MacDermond, this weekend's Fossil Festival was more than a reunion.
It was a chance to meet new friends and mingle with old ones - once more, as a couple.
Taylor, Havre High Class of 1963, and MacDermond, Havre High Class of 1965, are set to be married on Oct. 16.
The couple first dated in high school for a year, while Taylor was a junior and MacDermond was a freshman. The pair split up and went on to marry other people. After their divorces, Taylor and MacDermond met up through a classmates Web site in February and began e-mailing each other, calling and visiting. She lives in California and he was living in Washington state.
Soon, the self-described "first loves" were hearing wedding bells.
The couple was taking advantage of everything offered at the second Fossil Festival, a reunion of the classes of 1950-1969 that was held five years after the first gathering at the Hill County Fairgrounds. The pair, like hundreds of other Fossils and their guests, went to dances Friday and Saturday nights, reminisced and had their helpings of favorite foods. "We had our Pronto Pups and pizza," MacDermond said. "The things we could only get in Havre."
Event organizers Sandy Anderson and Diane Lamphier estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 classmates attended. Many of those classmates, especially those who missed the first Fossil Festival, held in 2000, were "overwhelmed," Anderson said.
"They just had a wonderful time," she said. "They saw people from classes they hadn't seen for years. It was a real, real warm, fun time. It just brings you back to your high school days. Everybody danced the night away, and everybody was sore the next day."
There was dancing to the music of the Squires, a barbecue, a Kiwanis pancake breakfast, a classic car show, and plenty other activities to entertain returning grads and guests.
"It's a lot of fun," 1961 Havre Central grad Rusty Herman said. "That's why we're here. If it wasn't fun, we wouldn't be here."
Herman, now a lawyer in Houston, spent time with his friend Jim Brady, also a 1961 HCHS class member, who served in Vietnam before moving around the country and then settling back in Montana, where he is a fourth-grade teacher in Malta.
Brady and Herman said their classmates were very close to each other and the Havre High kids from the same era.
"We dated all of the girls over at Havre High," Herman said.
The Fossil Festival was a good opportunity to meet people from classes that graduated before and after, Brady said.
The reunion was a great chance to meet up with old acquaintances, Herman added.
"The dance was a lot of fun. My first date came up to me and said, 'Who am I?'" Herman said. "I said, 'Hell if I know.'"
Herman said Havre is much different today than it was when he was in high school.
"I'm saddened to see how Havre has changed," he said. "Things have come and gone."
The gathered classmates applauded their veterans, and honored those who have died with a moment of silence.
Anderson said the organizers owe a debt of thanks to the Montana State University-Northern football team, which came to the fairgrounds Monday to load tables and chairs that had been borrowed from the Vets and Eagles clubs.
"We couldn't have appreciated it more," she said.
In 2000, more than $4,500 was raised at the festival and donated to the Great Northern Fair Board for improvements to the grounds. Anderson said the proceeds from this year's festival, after expenses, again will be donated to the community, though a recipient has not yet been picked.