Monday, July 26, 2021

There's nothing like family by Susan Aylworth!

In 2005, when our two youngest announced wedding plans and we saw the family scattering, my husband observed that soon we'd only see each other at weddings and funerals. We wanted something different.

When I told my son John my thoughts, he said it all sounded good, "but don't call it a family reunion. That sounds like two maiden aunts sitting under a tree, drinking lemonade and gossiping about everybody else. You've got to make it sound exciting, like a rock concert." And Aylpalooza was born. 

We meet biannually in odd-numbered years. Hosting rotates through the family and we've been to some interesting places, including mountain lakes, and seaside vacation homes. This year we went to the heart of the nation. Aylapalooza 9 met in Oklahoma City. 

We visited a pool near a waterfall where the kids all played and spashed each other. We took over a small local theater where we ran an old family favorite and laughed along with familiar lines. Adults and teens went four-wheeling.

To keep the young ones interested, we had one day with a bounce house and a water slide. On another day, two adult granddaughters organized a "Chopped Challenge." Teams of grandchildren, ages six to sixteen, used pre-selected ingredients to prepare the prettiest and tastiest plated food. 

Another day, three sons competed to see who could prepare the tastiest beef brisket. For four precious days, we ate lavishly and shared great fun. Mostly, we had each other.

For Roger and me, one highlight was meeting our first great-grandchild and shooting a four-generation picture. After those four wonderful, action-packed days, we left OKC with souvenir t-shirts, pictures, and beautiful memories, already looking forward to Aylapalooza 10 in 2023. 

Our choice to organize the first Aylapalooza has grown into an event the whole family eagerly anticipates and plans to attend. It costs time, travel, effort, and money--and it's worth every bit.

Susan Aylworth is the author of more than 20 novels. Her newest book is St. Nick Comes to Christmas Town, Book 2 in the Christmas Town series, releasing July 29. Over the Rainbow, a prequel to the Rainbow Rock Romances, is available free for only a short time longer to everyone who subscribes to her newsletter. You can sign up on her website: Contact her on her Facebook author page or via or join her on Twitter @Susan Aylworth. 




  1. What a fun idea and a great way to keep the family connected. I love how you had activities for all the age groups. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing Aylapalooza with us, Susan. Sounds fabulous!