By Alan Sorensen
The fossils' enthusiasm wasn't dampened by Friday's downpour and Saturday's cloudy breezes during their festival at Hill County Fairgrounds over Labor Day Weekend. Several even said they were glad for the cooler weather and the impending end to the wildfires ravaging the state.
"The whole event was nice," organizer Sandy (Saunders) Anderson, Class of '67, said, "because you could come as a whole family and enjoy the whole thing all together."
"Some of the people didn't come on Friday night," Lamphier said. "They didn't know the volume of people that were going to be there."
Anderson said a total of 687 people signed in at their classes' registration tables inside the fairgrounds' Community Center. She and Diane (Jones) Lamphier, Class of '63 and another organizer, said they believe that several people didn't even make it to the center and that some who did didn't sign in.
The cost of admission to the weekend affair was used to pay the committee's expenses with the remaining proceeds going directly to the Hill County Fairgrounds Foundation.
Fairgrounds Manager Mike Spencer said this morning that the Fossil Festival signed over between $3,200 and $3,400 directly to the foundation.
"The festival committee did present 10 percent of the gate to 4-H," Spencer said. "A little over $800 was given to the 4-H and they turned around and gave the money to the foundation so the bathrooms could be completed."
All told, the foundation received a little more than $4,000 from the registration fees paid by the fossils upon their entry to the fairgrounds parking lot.
It's been more than a week, but all of the receipts are still not in on the Fossil Festival.
Each of the food vendors open for the weekend from the Lions and Optimist clubs to the MSU-Northern Math Club and Knights of Columbus will be paying 20 percent of their take to the fairground board's concession fund. As of today, the only vendor to have paid was Havre Youth Baseball. The association's beer garden contribution to the fairgrounds came to a few dollars more than $1,700, Spencer said.
Another weekend fund-raiser was the sale of commemorative T-shirts. Proceeds from the sales went to the MSU-Northern Skylights basketball team. A total of 457 shirts were ordered and 418 were sold on the spot.
Aside from the money involved, Spencer termed the festival "an excellent success."
The grandstand was nearly full for the all-class opening ceremonies Saturday afternoon and the Bigger Better Barn was packed Saturday night for The Squires, one of the most popular Havre rock bands of the 1960s.
"The Squires, they blew people's minds," Anderson said of the dance. "They totally blew people away."
"Somebody said they gridded it out," Spencer said about the dance Saturday night, "and they said it was about 1,800 (people). That was the most I've seen in (the Bigger Better Barn)."
Saturday and Sunday began with breakfasts on the midway, but the real beginning to the day were the opening ceremonies in the grandstand. The Havre Elks put on a flag presentation followed by the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner, accompanied by a small but proficient contingent of former HHS band members. Several voices cracked and were stilled when Angie Childs carried an American flag rode into the arena on the back of a Blue Pony and did several turns before stopping facing the grandstand as the anthem drew to a close.
Anderson said she, Lamphier and Clarke Streeper, who was leading the singing, all had trouble continuing.
"Everyone was doing fine until the pony came out," Anderson said.
Lamphier told the audience that the '50s and '60s reunion, with a smattering of '70s and '40s thrown in, was different from most reunions because it brought neighborhoods together, again.
"Bob Brendgard (early '60s) had to have his Sunnyside School picture taken," Lamphier said. "He got all the kids together who went to school there and they got their picture taken."
Lamphier said she was also surprised at how many people were attending their first reunion. "There a lot of people who came back for this who had never been to a reunion before," she said.
The pair said people returned to Havre from all corners of the country, including Maryland, Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., Nebraska, California, Colorado, all neighboring states, and even India.
They were pleased with the turnout, but wished more of the teachers from the 1950s and '60s could have been on hand.
"There weren't a lot, but Mrs. Granier said she saw at least 40 of her old students," Anderson said. "Some she had in grade school and some in high school."
Other teachers who made it were Mrs. Mollie Keller, Mrs. Virginia Kappernick, Mrs. Dee Heltne.
"It was just neat they were there," Lamphier said.
"The car show (Saturday afternoon) was a nice little plus," Anderson said.
Lamphier and Anderson said plans are already under way for another Fossil Festival, but that it won't come off for another five years.
"We were going to wait five years and do it again," Lamphier said. "By then it might double."
"You want people to be able to talk about it for a long time," Anderson said. "You want it to double in people and you want them to look forward to it."
"The key was the simplicity," Lamphier added. "We had more people tell us how they liked that it was so simple."
Anderson said businesses throughout Havre also benefited from the reunion.
"Different businesses experienced the oldtimers," she said. "All of the businesses couldn't have done better; if they didn't, I would be surprised."
A breakdown of years, showed that 101 students from the 1950s signed in. Among those from the 1960s were:
1969, HHS 45
1968, HHS 42, HCS 13
1967, HHS 48, HCS 20
1966, HHS 46, HCS 18
1965, HHS 63, HCS 12
1964, HHS 52, HCS 13
1963, HHS 43, HCS 13
1962, HHS 41, HCS 15
1961, HHS 29, HCS 6
1960, HHS 52, HCS 15.