Event organizers need fresh faces

Published 5:08 am Sunday, October 7, 2007

By Staff
As 2007 begins to wind down, most of the big festivals and annual events in Washington have already come and gone for this year.
Smoke on the Water, the Holiday Flotilla and one more full-fledged Music in the Streets remains to be staged before the end of the year rolls around. Planning for many of next year’s festivals and events such as the Summer Festival are under way.
The problem is that most of the planning for those signature festivals and events in Washington — as it is in many other eastern North Carolina communities — is being done by the same handful of volunteers year in, year out. Without those veteran volunteers, many, if not, all of those festivals and events would not take place. Many of those veteran volunteers work on more than one festival or event, with some volunteers working on as many as four or five festivals or events each year.
It’s time for some new blood — not to mention legs, arms, backs and hands — to provide some assistance when it comes to planning the next generations of Summer Festival, Fourth of July celebrations, Pickin’ on the Pamlico, Music in the Streets, Eastern North Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships and Smoke on the Water. Some of the existing volunteers who make those and other events happen are getting long in the tooth. They don’t have the physical and mental stamina they once had and are needed to plan and present the festivals.
Before they get too old or worn out, those experienced volunteers need some new volunteers to become their understudies and learn the ropes when it comes to bringing Music in the Streets or a Holiday Flotilla to the city. Besides, new blood often results in new ideas that make an event or festival better.
Becoming one of those new volunteers means lots of work. Lots of hard work is what it takes to bring a Fourth of July celebration to the waterfront for several hours. But all that hard work is worth it when the collective “oohs” and “aahs” from children and adults are heard over the Pamlico River during a fireworks display at one of Washington’s waterfront events.
For those who can’t devote several days, even weeks, to help organize a festival or event, providing volunteer labor for several hours during a multi-day event would be providing some much-needed assistance. For those who are not able to perform heavy labor, they may provide help by serving at an information booth, coming up with a design for a poster or entering scores for a cooking contest into a computer.
Although volunteers are not rewarded with monetary compensation, many of them receive rewards by working with other people who care about the community, watching festival-goers walk around with smiles on their faces and observing as merchants ring up sale after sale during a festival or event. They are also rewarded by basking in the satisfaction of a job well-done.
So, want to volunteer to help plan festivals in Washington during the next several years? Just show up at the next festival and find the volunteers working there. They will be the ones with clipboards in their hands, sweat on their brows and dark circles under their eyes.
They will have smiles on their faces when they learn new helpers have arrived.