Today as I look out my window and watch the rain make puddles in the garden and the March wind try it’s best to untangle the branches of the willow tree, August 1st & 2nd seems so far away. I feel my heart quicken when I think of all the planning and work that needs to be accomplished between now and then for the weekend of the 51st Annual Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival.
That weekend the colorful tents of more than 200 vendors showcasing their quality arts and crafts will line the historic waterfront streets. Music from musicians will entertain and the aroma of food will entice approximately 15,000 visitors that will stroll the streets, at times shoulder to shoulder. The Wine & Beer Garden provides a respite for our visitors before taking in more of the festival, and the juried art gallery provides shelter from the sun, amazing the art lover with colorful, unique and beautiful art while the Children’s Tent provides our young visitors with amazing hands on crafts.
To the casual visitor, it looks organized and well run. What isn’t so evident are the 250 volunteers it takes to ensure our vendors are well showcased and our visitors have a fun, safe time. To put it bluntly, there would be no Festival if not for the volunteers, some who give many hours of their time throughout the year while others spend their weekend helping vendors unload and load, providing time for vendors to get food, and directing traffic. It is the strength of our volunteers that help make the festival successful with the goal of returning the profits back into the community to make it a better place for all of us to live and play.
Who are our volunteers? They are people just like you and come from all walks of life, not always from Coupeville. They are retired, high school students, teachers, the US Navy, members of service clubs such as the Lions and Soroptimists. But mostly our volunteers come from a biding sense of community and who want to make a difference in the quality of life for all of us.
Judy Wilson was one of our newer volunteers last year. She says it best:
“Volunteering brings together a diverse group of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Booth sitting offered me an incredible networking opportunity and was a great way to learn from and meet people with amazing talents, plus the opportunity to connect with friends and others attending and volunteering at the festival. Coordinating parking was a fun way to enjoy the day interacting with festival goers – welcoming them to our community and sharing their experiences after attending the festival.”
This year we are planning to host a Volunteer Only Orientation and Reception to be held just prior to the Festival. We will provide an opportunity to meet other volunteers, ask questions and receive the information our volunteers need to make their experience fun and satisfying. We also host a Volunteer Luncheon afterward to honor those who have helped us be successful.
Please consider experiencing the Festival through the eyes of a volunteer. We have many opportunities to offer at times that are designed to fit into everyone’s schedule. After you have reviewed the opportunities, fill out the Volunteer Application and someone will be in contact with you as soon as possible.
I look forward to working with this year’s volunteer crew, and hope to see you join us!
– Kathy Sechrist, Volunteer Coordinator