-- My View -- My View - Bandera All Class Reunion
By David Lee Jureczki BHS Class of 1972
As I watched those participating in the Bandera All Class Reunion enter the facility, I saw big smiles. I also saw surprise and joy in the faces of those who have not seen their classmates and long-lost friends for a long time.
I listened to the comments of those who admit that life has kept them way too busy over the years and now they long for the opportunity to relive their youth with old friends. I listened as promises were made to meet and visit regularly, but also heard many admit that this annual event might be their only opportunity to re-connect.
I know that Bandera is known as a "party town" and that much of the area's economy is derived from "party town" visitors. However, I also know that long-time residents wish that their town were known for more than just a place to drink and dance on weekends.
I view the Bandera All Class Reunion as an opportunity to regenerate interest in the community from those who see Bandera as their "hometown," not a "party town." I see the potential for those who have left Bandera for higher wages in larger cities to come home and renew past ties.
It seems likely that in the future this renewed interest in the community may enable former Bandera residents to return to their hometown with their values and their money.
During the three-day Bandera All Class Reunion a peaceful co-existence was forged with participants and community residents. No incidents of violence, alcohol abuse, theft or vandalism were reported. The community embraced the now-grown children of Bandera. There are those, myself included, who hope there's a future in the Bandera community for those who attend the Bandera All Class Reunion.
This year, approximately 160 people participated in the three-day event, and approximately 106 people attended the main event at the Boys and Girls Club of Bandera County.
From a random survey and from the admission tickets sales, I estimate that each of these 106 people spent approximately $60 to $150 in Bandera.
Money spent on fuel, food, drinks and other items flowed into the Bandera community from the visiting participants, who cost very little in the way of police, fire and other city-county services. At an average estimated spending of $100, those who required little maintenance contributed more than $10,000 in revenue to Bandera. Now, isn't that more of what the community needs?
For this reason, I'm asking everyone to support the Bandera All Class Reunion as a yearly event.
It must be noted that no members of the Bandera Economic Development Corporation or City Council participated. Although some are past classmates and most are associated with Bandera schools, none chose to attend and learn more about this fine event that is not supported by local funds.
Funding distributed by the EDC is earmarked to support and grow local events. Those who live in the community of Bandera and wish to see this type of event grow and continue are urged to offer appointed and elected officials your opinion. We need your voice to open the hearts and minds of those who govern the community and have a say in the direction that it moves.
Finally, I would like to say that I have no business or financial motive to continue supporting this event. My only goal is to bring an annual event to the city of Bandera that is good for the community and good for those who have love for the community.
In past years, I - and others - have personally funded the Bandera All Class Reunion event to get it started. As suspected, it has proven to be a popular event that will continue to grow in the coming years. Our only limitations are having the ability to fund the notifications and publicity that allows others to find out about the event. Every dollar that this event earns goes back into the community, and no profit is taken by anyone associated with organizing and promoting the Bandera All Class Reunion.
Pro or con, I look forward to hearing the community's comments and suggestions.