It can't be easy being an Anderson.
There are about 571 Andersons listed in the Brainerd lakes area phone book. Not only is there an abundance of Andersons living in the Brainerd area, but many seem to share first names, too.
Dan Anderson, owner of Dane Engineering in Brainerd, said he's one of five Dan Andersons living in Brainerd. He often gets phone calls intended for Dan Anderson, the Brainerd High School girls' swim coach. He wanted to name his company Anderson Engineering, but there were just too many businesses operating under the Anderson name in the state. Instead, he took his son's middle name for his company.
And Jim Anderson is one of 15 James Andersons listed in the phone book. He said he knows of at least one Jim Anderson in Brainerd who refuses to list his number in the phone directory because of the multitude of misdialed phone calls he's received for other James Andersons.
That must be why an East Gull Lake resort is reserving an entire weekend in April strictly for people named Anderson.
Madden's on Gull Lake is calling the event "the biggest gathering of Scandinavians this side of Oslo or Stockholm."
The resort is reserved April 16- 20 for any and all Andersons, including their "cousins," the Andersens. Resort officials said they are attempting to set the record for the largest family reunion in Minnesota history.
Kathy Reichenbach, assistant marketing and communications director at Madden's, said they have sent 8,000 invitations for the weekend to Andersons -- and Andersens -- living throughout the state, including those who live in Fargo, N.D.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Des Moines, Iowa.
The "family reunion" will feature events like the Anderson potluck dinner for 600, the all-Anderson family photo, the Anderson lawn bowling and croquet championship, a lutefisk and lefse eating contest and a Scandinavian Bingo Bash. There will be Easter family activities offered as well.
Since this is the first time they've hosted such an event, Reichenbach said they're unsure what to expect. The resort has about 300 rooms available for the weekend. The rental units can sleep about three to four Andersons per room. They could potentially have 600-800 Andersons attending the weekend's festivities, she said.
"We just don't know what to expect," said Brian Thuringer, Madden's general manager and owner. "The logistical challenges for our front desk and telecommunications system alone are mind boggling. We thought the Millennium Bug was scary; this is 10 times more frightening. I know that we will have plenty of lutefisk, lefse, aquavit and gloog on hand to keep the crowd happy."
"I think it's going to be really fun," said Reichenbach. "If it's a huge success, we will see if next year we'll do the Johnsons or the Smiths."
"It's probably a good idea," said Arden Anderson, Brainerd. "It'll be fun for people who are younger. I'm 76."
"It could be too much of a good thing," said Jim Anderson with a laugh, referring to the all-Anderson gathering. "It sounds interesting but I don't know if I can go."
"Maybe, if I had more information," said Dan Anderson. "It would be kind of cool."
If you're an Anderson and interested in more information about the all-Anderson weekend at Madden's on Gull Lake set for April 16-20, contact the resort at 829-2811.
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