When the Montoya family has its family reunion this summer, they expect close to 450 people to show up, including a great grandmother, who turns 100 this year.
“We’ll spend an entire weekend together with potlucks and activity gatherings,” George Garcia, a family spokesman, stated in a news release. “We even have our talent show, with music ranging from mariachi to top 40 and oldies. Several of our family members are very talented singers and musicians.”
They also have their own art show and each family member will spend some time writing down their best recollections of Montoya family history as far back as anyone can remember. And on Sunday, they’ll celebrate Mass together.
But they’re not going to do this at a hotel.
Instead, the five generations of the Montoya family will congregate at the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Larkspur, Colo., a relatively low cost venue that has the added benefit of being in the great outdoors.
“Our family loves camping. It’s something that’s gotten down from generation to generation. We never even thought of other options,” Garcia said.
Indeed, for the past several years, the Montoya family has had its reunions in campgrounds. They recently settled on the Jellystone Park in Larkspur because it’s a large park with a variety of options, from tent sites to RV sites to cabins and tipis.
“This way, everybody can camp however they want,” Garcia said. “The people who want to stay in a tent can stay in a tent. And those who have RVs can stay in their RVs. My mom got a cabin. It’s a perfect way for all of us to be together so that we can just be ourselves.”
While the Montoya family reunion is unusually large, the idea of having family reunions in campgrounds is spreading across the country as people look for affordable, innovative ways to spend quality time together, according to Michele Wisher, director of marketing for Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises Jellystone Parks.
Across the Jellystone system, reunions happen throughout the summer involving families with relatively small groups to huge gatherings like the Montoyas, Wisher said.
Garcia said his family chose the Larkspur Jellystone partly because of its facilities and location in a scenic setting near Denver, which is convenient for most of the Montoya family.
The campground also has numerous amenities, including a grocery store and laundry facility, a 2.1-mile, 18-hole championship disc golf course, which is naturally maintained by herds of friendly goats, a playground, a heated swimming pool, two small fishing ponds, a gem-mining sluice, and a pedal cart track.
The Montoyas plan to make use of the park’s pavilion for their meals and special events. They also plan to make use of the campground’s volleyball courts, Garcia said.
But while Jellystone Parks are famous for having organized family activities and themed weekends, Garcia said the Montoyas already have enough of their own activities planned to keep themselves entertained.
“We’re all very close, from first cousins to sixth cousins,” he said. “We hope to just continue this tradition forever.”
About Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts
Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system is the second largest chain of campgrounds in the United States, boasting 78 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 30 states and Canada. Its Camp-Resorts are among the best campgrounds in the industry with a quality reputation for being fun, friendly, clean and service-oriented parks. Additionally, each Jellystone Park is themed with Yogi Bear elements providing instant recognition and consumer appeal. It is truly a place “Where You Camp With Friends.” Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit www.campjellystone.com.