The annual Waterfowl Festival runs on volunteer power, and it needs YOU!
During the festival, more than 1,000 volunteers handle everything from ticket sales to art sales, information guides to traffic control, and decorations to signage. And there are volunteers who work year ‘round to help keep operations running smoothly.
Nancy Espenhorst is the Waterfowl Festival’s volunteer coordinator who is in charge of matching new volunteers or current volunteers looking for a change into the perfect position at the festival.
“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of the festival, and we treasure each and every one of them,” explains Nancy.
Volunteers work in shifts and have the option to sign up for dates and times that fit their schedule. Each venue has a coordinator who works closely with its volunteers.
According to Festival Director Leslie Milby, several volunteers claim they have worked every year, barring a wedding or childbirth or other event. “It takes them a lot to be lured away festival weekend and many of them have collected their volunteer badges from all those years.”
“We have a faithful base of volunteers,” Nancy says. “For many, once they experience volunteering at Waterfowl Festival, they are hooked. But we are also facing the fact that some of our volunteers and chairmen are getting up in years and we would like to start training the next cohort.”
At this time, the festival is looking for new chairmen for the photography exhibit as well as the Chesapeake Marketplace.
Even local teens get involved through the “Ducksitter” program. They cruise through the festival dressed as mascots greeting visitors and can earn service hours through various other volunteer work, making them eligible to apply for the William A. Perry Scholarship.
Organizations also volunteer during the festival. The Rotary Club has handled traffic control for many years while Easton Utilities encourages employees to volunteer, many of them in the ticket booths.
As a perk for helping in the fun, volunteers all get a volunteer badge that allows them general admission access to the festival for the weekend. The Waterfowl Festival also hosts a volunteer celebration in the spring where awards are given.
“We are lucky to have such a supportive and engaged community,” says Waterfowl Board President, Ken Miller.
Organizations and individuals interested in getting involved can contact Nancy Espenhorst at 443-746-3338, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. There’s always lots of work to go around!