Family Reunions and Traditions

Every month the #FHforChildren bloggers come together to write about a different theme along the lines of sharing family history with children. This month we're talking about family reunions, and I immediately knew I had to write about our Lutz family reunions every October.   

It’s the best part of October for me, really – the family reunion that we’ve had every year since about 1990. I honestly don’t remember a year without it. It’s been a part of every October in my memory, and so many traditions have been built into it over the years that oftentimes every year seems the same – and it’s so full of nostalgia for many of us that attend, that that’s the way we like it!  

Our October Family Reunion

Every year, usually on the second weekend of October, our Lutz side of the family has a reunion at my great aunt and uncle’s house in Morgan County, Indiana. The reunion has come to be affectionately called “The Stewfest” because my Uncle Joe makes a big pot of stew over the fire every year.

The family all gathers in their big red pole barn up the hill from their house with the wraparound porch amidst the trees. Their house is way out in the country, in the woods high on a hill, surrounded by rolling farmland. The trees are already starting to turn their bright autumn colors by that time, and usually the air is a crisp and cool. We have a big pitch in dinner, along with stew, of course!  

Uncle Joe & Aunt Darlene with the stew! 

Uncle Joe & Aunt Darlene with the stew! 

Once it gets dark enough, it’s time for the hayride! Everyone makes their way down the hill and we all pile in for a hayride out in the fields. My mother recites the poem Little Orphant Annie and everyone chimes in with “and the goblins’ll getcha ef you don’t watch out!” When we get back to the barn, it’s time to pass out pumpkins to all the kids. We sit around the fire and chat, roast marshmallows, and make s’mores. Everyone starts making their way home once it starts to get too late, after many, many hugs and kisses goodbye, and a “see you next year!” for many. And before you know it, it’s that time of the year again!

It’s happened every year since at least 1990, and now there have been five generations to attend – from my great-grandma Lutz to my children and their cousins.

My mother with her three grandchildren at the Stewfest in 2015 - the 5th generation to enjoy the reunion! 

My mother with her three grandchildren at the Stewfest in 2015 - the 5th generation to enjoy the reunion! 

Family Reunions and Traditions

A big part of what makes the Stewfest so special for me are its traditions. There are traditions that everyone from all over the family tree shares in, like the hayride and the pumpkins for the kids. And then there are traditions that each family has who comes. For us, growing up we would have about an hour and a half drive, eventually driving through the Indiana farmland on our way there, and in the early 1990s, my mother started playing the soundtrack from the movie The Last of the Mohicans on the drive there. Well, this started to become a yearly thing until eventually, once my brother, sister, and I got old enough, it was simply a tradition, and a special one at that!  

Special Family Reunion Traditions

Do you have a special annual family reunion?

Here are some ways you can make it special for your kids:

·         Start incorporating your own little family traditions into it. Listening to the same music on the drive to our reunion may not seem that big of a deal, but now I love that soundtrack and it always reminds me of fall and our get-together. Maybe a special kind of music could work for you, too.

·         Make your traditions that ties into the place where you hold your reunion. If you notice, our reunion is so very Hoosier. Pumpkins, stew, bonfires, hayrides – even a poem by James Whitcomb Riley! – it all cries We’re from Indiana! So, wherever you’re from, start a tradition that’s unique to that place.  

·         Start a tradition that’s only for the kids! At the Stewfest, only the kids get pumpkins. (Big ole ones, too!) They draw a number and when their number is drawn, they get to go pick out their pumpkin. It’s always exciting for my kids and they love to show off their pumpkin!

Traditions make memories, and they also help kids remember what they have to look forward to!

What traditions make your family reunions special? What traditions can you start this year? Share in the comments below!  

Don't miss the rest of the posts in this months #FHforCHildren Blog Link-up all about family reunions! Click on the image to see the posts:  

 

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