The 2019 Tri City BBQ Fest starts one week from tonight and the event is still in need of many volunteers.
“We need about 100 more volunteers,” said Rachel Desy, Chamber & Development Council of Crawford County office manager.
About 300 volunteers are needed to run all the areas of the festival; about 150 have signed up so far, Desy said.
Another 50 or so will come from the large groups that volunteer.
“My favorite part is seeing the new volunteers who have never been to the event,” Desy said. “They have an absolute blast.”
Volunteers have often told her that the shifts go very quickly and many decide to stay after and keep working.
“When you’re working the event, you’re right in the middle of it,” she said. “You’re seeing the visitors, you’re smelling the amazing food. It’s a really fun experience.”
Volunteers get a free t-shirt and an ID lanyard.
Tuesday is the last signup day that volunteers will be guaranteed a t-shirt, due to size and quantity constraints.
“We really would like to encourage people to sign up before Tuesday, if possible,” Desy said. “That gives us a
chance to look at the schedule and fit everyone into a shift.”
Those who sign up are invited to the volunteer meeting at Cronk’s Café at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday of next week.
“We’ll go over the entire event layout and schedule,” she said.
“When visitors come to the festival, we want them to be able to go to anyone with a volunteer shirt on and get general information or pointed in the right direction.”
Appetizers and drinks will be served at the meeting.
“We want to see a large crowd at our volunteer meeting so we can answer any of their questions,” Desy said.
Volunteers must sign up for a minimum of four hours of work to be eligible for the t-shirt, she said. Several shifts adding up to four hours will qualify.
The Tri City BBQ Fest is a valuable event for the community, Desy said.
“It brings a sense of pride to our county and community. It’s a great showcase of what we have to offer here,” she said. “The whole community comes together and supports this and makes it a success because it takes everybody working together to make it happen.”
The event brings visitors to the area who fill the hotels, shop at area businesses and eat at local restaurants, she said.
“We hope that when they have an amazing experience at this event that they consider coming back, not only for future barbecue festivals, but maybe just to visit the community itself,” she said.
Desy said visitors will see several new attractions at this year’s BBQ fest.
“We think they are going to be very popular and visitors are going to have a lot of fun with them,” Desy said.
Her favorite new attraction is the duck races.
“I think most people don’t realize these are live ducks that race across water,” she said. “That’s going to be really entertaining.”
Volunteers are needed for the Kids’ Zone, soda stations and merchandise tents.
For the Kids’ Zone, five volunteers are needed for the 5 to 10 p.m. shift on Friday night. On Saturday, six are needed from 9:30 to 2 p.m., eight are needed from 2 to 7 p.m. and eight from 6 to 11 p.m.
The soda station needs six volunteers from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday and six from 7 to 11 p.m. On Saturday, three volunteers are needed from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., five from 2 to 6 p.m., five from 6 to 10 p.m. and three from 8 p.m. to midnight.
The merchandise area needs three volunteers from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday and six from 7 to 11 p.m. On Saturday, three are needed for each of the shifts: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2 to 6 p.m., 6 to 10 p.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.
“We would take volunteers whenever they are available, even if their availability doesn’t fit the listed shifts,” Desy said. “We’re willing to adjust.”
Individuals interesting in signing up to volunteer may do so at tricitybbq.com.
For more information or to sign up, contact the CDC at 712-263-5621 or visit the office at 18 South Main Street in Denison.