POTSDAM With well over 700 people expected to attend Stonerstock school reunion events this weekend, its inevitable that some of them traveled from afar.
Vlasta K. Pinkston was among the contingent of Stoners traveling to Potsdam from foreign lands.
Ms. Pinkston, who graduated from Potsdam High School in 1972, now lives just outside of London.
My visit here was for multiple reasons, she said, adding that her mom and dad still live in Potsdam and, with her birthday coming up, the timing for Stonerstock couldnt have been any better.
When asked what is so special about Potsdam that would lead this many to come back, she replied, It was a brilliant high school. We were Stoners and once youre a Stoner, youre always a Stoner.
Standing in a room filled with laughter and hugs at the Potsdam Museum on Friday afternoon, Ms. Pinkston said, Our classes were really close.
She continued, This is such a small town and a lot of people left after graduation, but theres something as you get older in age that drags you back to your roots and I think thats what this is all about.
John P. McBurnie graduated from Potsdam in 1971 and traveled to Stonerstock from Avon, Colo.
I kind of helped out quite a bit with it, he said. I havent been back in a lot of years, so it was time to come back.
Among Mr. McBurnies contributions to the event was 1960s memorabilia that he brought along to display at the museum during Stonerstock.
Mr. McBurnie said he arrived in town yesterday and had a barbecue with some friends in South Colton, adding a fourth day to the festivities for him.
Most of the people there, we all grew up on the same street, he said. Its great to see people. Its incredible that this thing has been pulled off.
With the official mega reunion itself being held tonight at SUNY Potsdam with a group of 575 Stoners dating as far back as 1937, Mr. McBurnie said the event could have been even bigger.
Its too bad we didnt have a bigger facility or there would have been even more people, he said, adding there are also a lot of people attending events this weekend that dont have tickets to this evenings dinner.
Wearing a tie-died shirt and a hat fit for the Mad Hatter, Mr. McBurnie said, I wouldnt have missed this for the world.
Students arent the only ones attending Stonerstock. Constance McElwain joined the faculty of Potsdam Central School in 1958, teaching first grade at Lawrence Avenue Elementary.
It was new that year. It was the first year for the school, she said, recalling the building was surrounded by a sea of mud.
Todays events will start at 9 a.m. with a 5K walk/run starting on Beal Street, behind Potsdam Laundry. The course for this event will be the same as for the Tour de Potsdam. The cost to participate is $5, with proceeds benefiting the Potsdam Key Club.
The Elks Club will host a chicken barbecue at 11:30 a.m. The cost of this meal is not included in the price of the reunion ticket.
At 1 p.m. all alums in town are invited to the school for a Mega Reunion group photo on the football bleachers behind the high school.
From 1 to 5 p.m. a musical tribute to Hank Williams Jr., Hankfest, is being held at Ives Park. This event also will feature a craft fair.
The Mega Reunion itself will then take place from 5 p.m. to midnight with cocktails served from 5 to 6 p.m. and a buffet dinner from 6 to 8:15 p.m. There will be an opportunity for organizers and participants to share stories and recognize various attendees from 8:15 to 8:45 p.m.
Double Axel will perform from 9 p.m. to midnight.
The event will conclude on Sunday with a farewell brunch at the high school to be followed by tours of the school from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.