Fall Fest always draws a class reunion or two, but this year will be an all-school reunion, which is expected to draw many former students to Wykoff. This float is from the 2015 Fall Fest parade.
Fall Fest always draws a class reunion or two, but this year will be an all-school reunion, which is expected to draw many former students to Wykoff. This float is from the 2015 Fall Fest parade.

Bring on the WyKats!

“Anybody who ever attended Wykoff Schools during any time of their lives, and any and all people in our surrounding communities who would like to join in the fun is invited,” stated Wykoff schools alum and Wykoff all-school reunion co-organizer Mary Sackett, issuing an invitation for all former Wykoff WyKats to attend the reunion set to take place during Wykoff’s 2016 Fall Fest, this year on the weekend of Sept. 23 through 25. 

The reunion is being held this year because it is the 100th anniversary of the first graduating class of Wykoff, which included Ed Krueger, of Ed’s Museum.  Planning for this event began immediately after Fall Fest last year. 

“It will be a wonderful time to reunite with upper and lower classmates from your past and help celebrate the past 100 years of Wykoff,” said Sackett. “We look forward to showing off our town to many who have not been here for a while and seeing all our school friends and their families.” 

Wykoff Area Historical Society President Shirl Boelter concurred. When word got out that Sackett was considering the idea of an all-school reunion, the historical society noted that Krueger’s graduating class was the first in Wykoff in the year 1916, making 2016 a 100-year anniversary of the first graduating class, so it offered to work together and contribute some initial financial backing.  Planning began in early 2015 to celebrate graduates and students of Wykoff schools.  

The reunion includes registration for an alumni banquet, a bonfire and social time on Friday evening. The Wall of Fame registration is set for 5 to 7 p.m. at the school’s old gym, the bonfire is from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and social hour is from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Friday.

There will be additional banquet registration on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the old gym. At least one reunion parade float will take part in the Wykoff Fall Fest parade Saturday at 11 a.m. A meet-and-greet of past teachers, custodians, cooks, bus drivers, school board members and others who served the students of the Wykoff district and a tour of the schools is on the schedule from 2 to 4 p.m. The reservation-only banquet catered by Ody’s Country Meats takes place from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Then, on Saturday evening, a dance, held at the Wykoff Fire Hall, will feature the Jerry Schmitt Band – a country band that Sackett noted has performed in Nashville and recently recorded a third album.

Sunday brings a community church service at 10:30 a.m. in the old gymnasium. Anyone who graduated from Wykoff and became a minister will be speaking, so Sackett asked if people know of ministers who graduated from Wykoff, have them get in touch with the committee. Jeff Erding is the master of ceremonies at the service.   

Boelter stated that the reunion is meant for people to be able to reunite with classmates and friends and to share memories of events, teachers and classmates. 

“Since it is an all-school reunion, many are hoping to see classmates they have not seen in many years and are hopeful they will get to see alumni they were in band, plays and sports with, and people who were in other grades who are not part of their class reunions,” she said.  “We are also hoping to see old friends from sports, plays, music and speech contests from other towns in the area at the dance Saturday night.” 

Boelter related that she’d like to welcome the entire extant Wykoff Public Schools student body, but for now, the organizers are simply guessing as to which WyKats will appear for the reunion. 

“It is impossible to know, as we only have tabs on those coming to the alumni banquet,” she explained. “We anticipate 1,000 or more will participate in some part of the festivities that weekend, but banquet reservations have come from Wykoff High School graduates beginning with the class of 1941 through 1991.  That’s a 50-year span.  Registrants are coming from several cities in California, and more from Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Wyoming, Washington state and Canada.”  

Boelter and Sackett promised that there will be memorabilia for alumni to enjoy.  They will have a “Through the Years” Wall of Fame, along with many articles, pictures and other items available to read about in the school museum at Ed’s Museum, and there will be tours of the old school.  The Wall of Fame will show the names of all graduates, from 1916 through 1992, which was the last Wykoff High School graduation. 

“However, we are honoring everyone who ever attended Wykoff schools during any time in their lives,” said Sackett. “Everyone should attend and join in the fun – people from surrounding towns we ever competed with during sports, etc., to come and help us celebrate.  We will have three days of fun and time to spend with family and friends.” 

Boelter registered that the reunion’s events will be recorded for inclusion in local history.  Since the Wykoff Area Historical Society is co-sponsoring the event, and recorded history is its specialty, the guest book and pictures of the event will be part of the history, she said.      

The reunion committee has kept busy throughout the year to prepare for the reunion itself, holding fundraising events and making arrangements.  The group has hosted a community breakfast and spaghetti dinner, and sold ice cream at the monthly burger night through the winter.  This is made possible by many volunteers who are so willing to help, said Sackett, and more volunteers are needed for the event.

“We have worked on this for over a year, and many grads have generously donated additional funds and their time to help with the event over the past year.  We are blessed with many volunteers,” said Boelter.

And, of course, once one has been to the reunion, there’s a t-shirt to show for it.  Sackett directed t-shirt buyers to the right outlets within Wykoff — The Bank Gift Haus, Security State Bank and Goodies and Gas — to purchase official Wykoff all-school reunion short sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Alumni banquet registration is $15 per meal, but Boelter noted that there is no fee for the Friday night bonfire, teacher and staff meet-and-greet, Saturday’s parade and all the other Fall Fest activities, except for the Jerry Schmitt Band dance at the Wykoff Fire Hall, which will be $8 per person. 

“Everyone should come and have fun.  Our dance starts Saturday night with the Jerry Schmitt Band – they are excellent and have recently recorded another record in Nashville.  Come and enjoy them,” said Boelter. “Because of contributions and fundraisers, admission to the dance will be $8 per person – this event is open to the public, and we’re hoping that the Wykoff alumni will see old friends from local towns.”    

Sackett requested that if people would like to volunteer or contribute toward the reunion’s success, or if they need more information, they should contact her at The Bank Gift Haus in Wykoff, 507-352-4205, or to contribute, send contributions to P.O. Box 182, Wykoff, MN, 55990.