Sunday, October 14, 2007

A little help from a lot of friends

RICHMOND, Va. (Sunday, October 14) – Erika Jurkowski seemed to stand at the festival crossroads Saturday afternoon with little to do.

Erika JurkowskiJurkowski, a student at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, stood on a path between the Capital One Family Area and the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage, offering National Folk Festival Pocket Guides to passers-by – most of whom already had them.

Ellen Jurkowski finds a taker.But Jurkowski did not mind. She had enough takers to keep the job interesting. She also realized she was helping Richmond put on a great show.

The National Folk Festival could not succeed without volunteers. Lots of them – about 1,000 according to Francesca Parch, volunteer coordinator for the festival.

Volunteers are involved in almost all aspects of the festival: manning information booths, helping as stagehands and stage security, escorting vans carrying performers and staff through the site, helping performers and staff checking in and out of their hotels and assisting them while there, working as artist buddies to help them on site as well as to help make their stay in Richmond more comfortable, and working in bucket brigades that solicit contributions from attendees.

Jurkowski, who was taking Paige Durham-Hayes’s music appreciation class at Reynolds, was encouraged to volunteer as part of her class. Despite the fact that she had relatively few takers for pocket guides, she was having fun – and looking forward to the opportunity to appreciate some of the festival’s musical offerings once here shift was over.

Marie CHardon (left) and Alyssa Connatser work the crowd as part of the bucket brigade.

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