We had a staff meeting down at the brewery last night. The way these things work is that after some updates from the festival leadership each committee head gives a brief or not-so-brief report on where their area stand in terms of prep for the upcoming fest.
When the time came for the Volunteer Committee to give their report we heard the sobering (and that's a big deal for people having a meeting in a brewery) news that we are off the usual pace of volunteer sign ups for two weeks out. Significantly off. And so we left the meeting all of us charged with convincing more of you to join us, the 99% volunteer staff of the Kansas City Irish Fest. So I'm going to try.
You already know all about the free t-shirt, the free ticket, etc. That's all great stuff. But here's why I volunteer.
My first Irish festival gig was as a volunteer beer pourer at the late great Westport Irish Fest back in the summer of 1999. I volunteered at every Westport Festival, every Brookside Irish Fest and coming up on all 11 Kansas City Irish Fests. That's a total of 19 festivals. Counting set and tear down days, I'm going to conservatively estimate 75 days of on-site fest volunteering. I've done just about everything there is do at an event like this. I've bagged trash, I've swept parking lots, I've poured beer, I've thrown out surly drunken patrons. I've introduced bands, I've blown up balloons, I've fixed fences, I've collected cash from gates, I've righted tipped over port-a-potties, I've hung banners. Man, have I hung banners. I've designed posters, I've painted cottages, I've taken surveys, I've carried strollers up stairs. I know from Irish Fest volunteering.
So why do I do it? Because it matters. Because it makes Kansas City a better place to live. Because I'm proud of who I am and where I came from. I'm proud to be a part of the great Irish diaspora. Because the people I've met through volunteering at Irish Fest have become the best friends I will ever have. Because being part of something that is among the best of other somethings like it on the planet is incredibly rewarding. Because Irish Fest, as a registered not-for-profit, doesn't exist to make money for any individuals, organizations or companies, it exists because a dedicated group of people decided that promoting and presenting Irish culture-and throwing the city's best party-is a good thing to do for our community. I do it because it's a hell of a lot of fun.
And because if I don't, who will?
Any of that sound like you? Then join us. We don't need much from you, promise. Most shifts are just 4 hours. Most require no heavy lifting, no special skills. Just a desire to have fun, throw a great party, work with wonderful people and make Kansas City a great place to be over a holiday weekend.
Please. Sign up today. Get your friends to join you. Get your family. Get your coworkers. We need you...and you will love this job.