The Threats family chose Lake County, Illinois (Chicago's northern suburbs) and came together from eleven states. They started hosting reunions in the 1980s and have been holding them throughout the US every other year since.
Sisters Catherine Walker and Faye Ceaser agreed to be reunion hosts. They started planning two years in advance, when a family member suggested bringing the reunion to the Chicago area. The sisters had experience planning reunions on their mother's side, but this was the first time planning for the family of their father, Dudley Threats. Both sisters have been Lake County residents for over 40 years, so they were familiar with the area and all it has to offer.
One year before the reunion, Catherine and Faye did site tours to area hotel options with Visit Lake County, the local convention and visitor's bureau. They narrowed their options to Holiday Inn Chicago North Gurnee as the host hotel, because it is near Six Flags Great America, Gurnee Mills Shopping Mall and their picnic location, Shiloh Park in Zion.
A holiday/save-the-date card was sent in December to get the word out. The card was followed by a detailed letter in mid-January describing reunion weekend plans. They also used a reunion Facebook page to help spread the word and increase attendance by younger family members. Planning committees were assigned to lighten their load for each part of the reunion: picnic, games and banquet. A nephew who is a graphic designer created a logo for the reunion t-shirts and the program. Their theme was, 'A family shielded by God,' Proverbs, 30:5B.
The Threats Family Reunion brought 110 people to Lake County. The weekend kicked off on Friday evening in the hotel hospitality space with a Meet and Greet catered by their sister-in-law, who owns Daisy's Dream Catering. Saturday was a free day to enjoy Six Flags Great America & Hurricane Harbor theme park, Gurnee Mills Shopping Mall, Gurnee Days festivities or the city of Chicago. Many took advantage of unlimited weekend Metra Rail passes that allowed multiple trips in and out of Chicago during the reunion weekend. The family banquet was held Saturday evening at the hotel. The banquet included a children's talent show and dance party after dinner. On Sunday morning, the family gathered for a worship service at Shiloh Park in Zion. One member who is a minister hosted the worship. Following the service, the family enjoyed a picnic; which included many activities for all ages. Some of the most popular were sack races, swimming, 'Let's make a Deal' game and an obstacle course arranged throughout the entire park by a relative who is a firefighter. A photographer captured activities, as well as the entire family at the banquet and picnic.
The Threats Family Reunion in Lake County, Illinois was a success! Faye Cesar said, "We couldn't have asked for better people to work with at Visit Lake County. Kimberly Ghys and Peggy Altman provided excellent service, information and planning assistance and were extremely helpful. We were blessed to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful people!"
Here at Visit Lake County we found both Catherine and Faye extremely caring, fun and kind individuals, and we are truly thankful to have welcomed the Threats family to Lake County! Visit visitlakecounty.org.
Sadly, since this reunion story was prepared, Cather Walker, one of the reunion planners, lost her son, Dr. Frank Matrix Walker (August 23, 1966 - July 1, 2014), in a tragic auto accident. Our condolences go out to the family.