50 YEARS OF FAMILY
The logistics of bringing together more than 160 people – 150 are in the photo – requires serious planning. It has been said, “there is no last (final) year until you’re gone,” according to Ron Vogler, a Morgan family “outlaw,” as all brothers and sisters-in-law are lovingly known. Ron, Jack Davis and Steve Morgan spearhead the annual reunion.
The family refers to the original nine siblings who started coming to Oglebay as the first generation. Comprised of seven brothers and two sisters they were all very close growing up in Wheeling. When the two sisters and their families moved out of the area, all nine siblings decided to pool their resources and rent Goldenrod cottage for the week over the July 4th holiday in 1970. They wanted the next generation to be as close as they were which inspired the annual family tradition.
During the weeklong celebration, family members come and go based on vacation time, travel schedules and the like. Coming from as far away as Alaska and West Palm Beach, Florida and every point in between, getting everyone together at the same time is a scheduling tour de force.
Due to the significance of the 50th Reunion Anniversary, delayed one year because of Covid-19, attendance was up. The need for cottages jumped from seven or eight to 12! The Morgans make their reservations as far into the future as the park allows. When the park rented cottages on a lottery basis, two brothers came to Oglebay every February to ensure that a sufficient number of cottages were available to house everyone.
In addition to the people, there’s all the stuff. Check in day is more like “move-in-day” when dozens of tables, chairs, tents, games, decorations, kegs, a snow cone machine, beer trailer, and other supplies arrive. On Sunday, a Catholic Mass is held in one of the cabins followed by a picnic which is THE reunion. A tradition started by Father Leo Morgan, OFM CAP, the eldest of the first generation.
Various cottages host a themed dinner covering a wide range of cuisines from Mexican, Deep Fry, Italian to Grill nights. One cottage hosts breakfast – talk about a lot of eggs! During the week, there are talent shows, movie nights, and the Annual Kenny O Golf Tournament, in its 36th year, named for cousin Kenny O’Connell who passed away 16 years ago.
With all the moving parts, and a large number of people coming and going, we asked the family what keeps them coming back year after year. Steve Morgan summed it up, commenting, “The point of Morganfest is for family members to develop friendships, not just to see each other for a few hours a year, and there’s a difference.”
Here’s to Morganfest 2022 and beyond! Thanks to the family for reminding us of what really matters.
MORGANS BY THE NUMBERS
First Generation: 9
Second Generation: 29
Third Generation: 54
Fourth Generation: 54
Fifth Generation: 2
And counting… twins and a third cousin will be added to the family at the end of this year or in early January 2022!