Travel & Leisure

[RECAP] The 12th Annual Tom Joyner Family Reunion

By  | 

Producer and singer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds was a concert highlight and crowd favorite. (Image: Tony Leavell)

This past Labor Day weekend I spent four fun-filled days at the 12th Annual Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando, Fla.

This year’s event entertained one of the biggest audiences ever, with more than 50,000 people in attendance, and continued to highlight and celebrate families with concerts, activities, seminars and exhibitors. Armed with my getaway goodie bag featuring items from brands including Monster Diamond Tear, Carol’s Daughter, and Sean John, and styled with summer outfits complements of my celebrity stylist Eboni Johnson, I strolled throughout the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center ready to partake in all of the festivities the TJFR had to offer.

I started my mornings by burning calories and getting my endorphins pumping  with fitness activities including the Susan G. Komen “Morning Zumba,”Divas in Defense Morning Fitness,” and Shellita Boxie’s “Booty and The Beast Bootcamp Fitness” session. United Healthcare’s Get Fit And Stay Fit spokesman Darrin Henson encouraged me to take charge of my health and fitness and answered questions from the crowd. My workout wasn’t all about aerobics and high impact cardio. I got to add pep to my step at the “TJ Shuffle” and “Step It Up Line Dance Video” events.

Later on, I mixed in along with the crowd and perused the venue to see the exhibitors, demos and activities. Everyone in the family had something they could participate in. Moms were burning calories and shopping with vendors. Kids were checking out NASA’s Robotic Camp, College Day and the Teen Summit App Lab. And dads were especially busy in one of my favorite events: the “As I Am: Daddy-Do” contest, where dads competed to create the best hairstyle on their kids.

One of the best parts of the TJFR is the musical entertainment. The event was star-studded with great performances by singers such as Porsha Williams of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Syleena Johnson, The Jacksons, Yolanda Adams and more. I listened to everything from Motown to Gospel and enjoyed singing along with the crowd.

Best-selling author and speaker Michael Baisden held two rounds of casting calls with casting director Leah Daniels for his upcoming stage play “Men Cry in the Dark 2.” Afterwards, he talked with the audience about overcoming personal issues in order to achieve your goals.

Every demo and activity was amazing! The TJFR’s mission to unify families with activities that everyone can participate in was executed perfectly. The 12th Annual Tom Joyner Family Reunion was an event to remember. I can’t wait to see what will happen on the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage cruise in the spring.