Behind the scenes are dedicated volunteers

Published 10:46 am Tuesday, March 24, 2009

By Staff
With the arrival of spring and its warming rays of sun, comes the arrival of events such as Music in the Streets, Saturday Market, Summer Festival, Fourth of July celebrations and the inaugural Beaufort County Traditional Music Festival.
Thousands of people show up for those events, enjoy them and return to their homes. But who does the behind-the-scenes work to plan the events, staff them and clean up after they are over? The answer is some of your family, neighbors, co-workers and strangers.
The majority of festival-goers take advantage of the entertainment, amusement rides and food booths provided along the waterfront or downtown. They eat hot dogs, foot-long hot dogs, cheeseburgers, curly fries and funnel cakes. They make their selections, plop down their money and walk away.
Who registers those vendors, assigns them their booth spaces and sees to it that they have the electricity, water and other items they need? It’s mostly volunteers, sometimes working with local government employees, who bring about Smoke on the Water or Pickin’ on the Pamlico. Somebody has to make sure a festival doesn’t have 12 ice-cream booths and just one ribs stand.
Many of these volunteers work on more than one event or festival. It’s hard work organizing, staffing and cleaning up after an event, especially if that event lasts for more than one day. They do it because they want to help provide a better quality of life and stimulate the economy. They do it because they believe in giving something back to the community.
As we have said in the past, volunteers are not rewarded with monetary compensation, but many of them receive “compensation” 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.
The next time you are at the Christmas Flotilla or the East Caroline Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships, take a few seconds to thank those who organized and worked at the event. Those folks will be easy to find.
They are the ones who got there early and left late. If you cannot find them, that’s probably because they are off somewhere planning another festival.