The annual Tom Joyner Family Reunion kicks off on Thursday at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center.
KISSIMMEE – To Oscar Joyner, the key word is family.
He may not have met you yet, but if you come to see him this weekend, consider yourself family … because that’s who Joyner is reaching out to.
“We hope to show our African American community in Orlando that Tom Joyner and the partners he rolls with care about the community,” Oscar Joyner said. “We feel like Orlando has really embraced the event, and we look forward to growing it.”
Tom Joyner, of course, is the host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, and for the past eight years, he’s been coming to the Orlando area to host the Tom Joyner Family Reunion celebration over the Labor Day weekend.
This year, the celebration has once again partnered with Allstate Insurance Company to bring the 2011 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion back to Central Florida. Although the annual event has been held at Walt Disney World for the past few years, this year it kicks off on Thursday and ends on Monday, Sept. 5, at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee. Last year more than 14,000 guests attended the sold out event, and this year Oscar Joyner, son of the radio host, is hoping that concerts, seminars, a Kid’s Night Out and the Allstate Family Expo will bring in even more visitors.
“The purpose of this party is community outreach, and Party with a Purpose is our theme,” he said.
The Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion started in 2003 as a weekend event with empowering family activities, mixed with performances by legendary soul R&B artists, gospel sensations and well-known comedians. It’s also an opportunity for guests to take part in inspirational forums, or to simply enjoy Sunday’s Family Fun Day with activities for the entire family.
“We want Orlando to come out to this,” said Martin Raab, senior vice president of marketing, communications, and events for REACH Media Inc., which is promoting the weekend event.
“They can come out to the expo on Thursday night, which is free,” he said. “Then we have all the concerts that we’ve promoted, they’re all invited to those concerts as well.”
“We’ve been coming to Orlando for so long now, Tom Joyner and his family reunion feel like they belong here,” Oscar Joyner said. “We’ve really built up a strong weekend.”
This year, with Allstate signed on as the title sponsor, the agency will have representatives available during the weekend event. The expo will host dozens of vendors, including Allstate.
“We want to let our community know they are there for them to get insurance quotes,” Joyner said. “Every year these sponsors, I think, see such a good, quality return on their investment.”
“The Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion provides families and listeners with a fun, affordable weekend of activities for all ages, and Allstate is proud to lend our ‘good hands’ to the good times,” said Karen Uhler, senior marketing manager for Allstate Insurance Company.
Among the new activities this year, Joyner said, is that “Ford is bringing more cars to do new test drives in the parking lot, Cracker Barrel is extending the hours they have invited us to come eat, and Seaworld is enhancing the experience that our travelers are going to get. It’s something to be said that all of our sponsors keep coming back year after year, making this bigger and better.”
The weekend package deal for this family reunion includes a five day/four night stay at Gaylord Palms, with tickets to daily concerts, theme parks, and private events.
The tickets also provide admission to the Family Expo, Sunday’s Family Fun Day, the kick off reception on Thursday night, the Friday night dinner and the Saturday BBQ. Guests are also provided with complimentary scheduled transportation, with transfers to the airport and theme parks.
“This is going to be one of the best ones we’ve ever had,” Joyner said. “We’ve got a kids lineup that hasn’t been this big in years. We’ve got top charting artists for anybody from eight to 80.”
The Saturday night teen concert includes performers like Mindless Behavior, Hamilton Park and Trevante. The concert will be hosted by young comedian Lil JJ. The teens only concert allows the young audience to enjoy the performers live without parents sitting next to them.
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