The Waterfowl Festival is gearing up for the big 5-0 this year on November 12 through 14 and volunteer needs are greater than ever. While the festival is preparing for one of its biggest shows to date, staff is also focused on ensuring a safe environment for artists, visitors and volunteers.
Whether someone likes working with the public or helping behind the scenes, there are opportunities for all. Lead guests to the raptor demonstrations as a bus and info guide, sell tickets in a heated ticket kiosk, pour a cold one in the “Beer Wetland,” or even stay the night in one of the venues to keep an eye on things. Whether you’d like to sneak peek at all the art coming in or be in the action and camaraderie of the sportsman’s exhibit – and, of course, if someone just really like setting up tables – there is a venue that fits everyone. Simply put, “We need it all, and we need you!” exclaimed Leslie Milby, Festival Manager.
Youth volunteers as young as middle school age are welcome to join the “Ducksitter” crew as they work on community service hours. Named for youth volunteers in some of the first shows that would sit and keep an eye on the carving booths, these youngest volunteers help with everything from grabbing lunch for vendors to strutting down the street dressed as the festival goose and fox mascot. Leslie adds, “It’s a great way for kids to serve their community in a very hands-on way and, of course, have a fun time being with their friends.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are long time volunteers who turn 90 while serving at the festival. “We are so fortunate to have had families serve together, volunteers return to the state just to take ‘their shift,’ and really pour their heart into the festival. It’s incredible,” adds Leslie.
A person’s level of commitment is based on his or her schedule. Everyone is welcome whether one is able to commit a few hours during Festival Weekend or if one has some spare time throughout the year to take on a co-chairman position. Chairmen and co-chairmen are needed in a variety of positions, from helping develop and grow venues such as the Chesapeake Marketplace or Artifacts, to managing the hanging and disbursement of signage during festival weekend.
Leslie concludes, “We are also looking to fill chairman spots to organize larger groups of volunteers, such as someone who loves working with youth to assist with managing our Ducksitter program as well as someone to be our ‘go-to’ for security.”
See what the behind the scenes are like for the area’s largest event and witness why the festival has had volunteers come back for 49 years. See the various opportunities at https://waterfowlfestival.org/volunteering/ or email Festival Manager Leslie Milby at firstname.lastname@example.org.