SILVER CREEK - "That '70s Reunion" took Silver Creek by storm. What started as a simple idea to gather graduates of the '70s or those who would have graduated during the '70s from Silver Creek Central School in Silver Creek, evolved into a huge event and fundraiser.
For many years graduates have talked about holding multi-class reunions. Some have done so with just a couple or a few classes. Through the power of social media, organizers were able to unite committee-people from all across the country and throughout the county to help organize this event.
"Whether or not we still live in our hometown, or moved away, one thought was repeated over and over. What could we do to help Silver Creek?" said Karen Richardson, Class of 1976.
Front row, from left: Mark Sackett (72), Wendy Roberts Ohnmeiss (72), Judy Barnett Hilliker (76). Back Row: Cyn Jones-Gailey (74), Karen Richardson (76), Laura Cave Hartinger (79), Rev. Maureen Spafford Davis (77), Vicky Taylor Gage (74). Missing: Jenny Barone Jolly (74).
Classmates decided to use the reunion as opportunity to give back to the community.
"We felt that holding the reunion during the Grape Festival would be a plus for everyone," Richardson said. "In addition, we knew there would be a few dollars left over and the idea was passed around about donating the proceeds to local charities."
It was agreed upon that the reunion would donate to the Silver Creek Food Pantry and to Laurel Run. To raise more money, classmates came up with the idea of raffles, auctions, posters and T-shirts.
"One of the reasons we chose Laurel Run was not only is it a terrific cause, but it's an organization that was started by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling, both of whom taught many of us in the 1970s," Richardson said. "Their daughter Laurel has become an icon in Western New York and beyond, and we were pleased to have her as our special guest along with her parents. Alvin 'Mac' Crowe was the school principal during the entire '70s, and we felt we wanted him and his lovely wife, Audrey, to share in the experience with us. We also had Colleen McKenna and Margaret Gorndt who are doing an amazing job with the Food Pantry."
Many people graciously helped in planning this past year, but one person who stood out is Ron Thurston who graduated in 1972. The class asked him to design the cover for the program book.
"The artwork was so spectacular we could not stop there," Richardson said. "We felt it would make a great T-shirt. We later added a poster to sell. Ron's enthusiasm was contagious and we couldn't thank him enough!"
Another stand-out is Cyn Jones-Gailey who owns the Creation Station in the village of Silver Creek. She offered up her warehouse for free and went above and beyond in designing it to be a perfect place to celebrate in true '70s fashion.
More than 300 former students attended festivities throughout the weekend. Alums came in from California, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and many other states. Three members of the reunion committee (Laura Cave Hartinger (79), Darra Moore (73) and Wendy Roberts Ohnmeiss (72) participated in the Grape Stomping on Thursday evening.
The weekend officially began at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, with a tour of The Backline, the former Geitner Theater. So many have wanted to see the transformation, and the Bogosians were kind enough to open the teen center for an hour. Classmates gathered at the beer and wine tent at the Grape Festival shortly thereafter. A tour of the school began at 10 a.m. and ran through 2 p.m.
The main event began at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening in the Creation Station Warehouse with dinner provided by Chiavetta's and music by Hot Daddy Rocks with a former student, Tom Bender. On Sunday the alums marched in the Grape Festival parade, and collected non-perishable food items, toiletries, cleaning products and baby formula as they marched down Main Street.
Committee members included Richardson (76), Cyn Jones-Gailey (74), Wendy Roberts Ohnmeiss (72), Jenny Barone Jolly (74) Judy Barnett Hilliker (76), Mark Sackett (72), Vicki Taylor Gage (74), the Rev. Maureen Stafford Davis (77) and Laura Cave Hartinger (79).