Volunteers needed for Blue Plum Festival

Tony Casey • May 29, 2014 at 9:41 AM

The show must go on, but often it needs ample staffing.

The Blue Plum Festival, in its 15th year, has kept to its motto to keep people coming back to the early June event by providing a unique experience each year. This kind of thing only comes with the help of several dozen volunteers who hold the festival together, Blue Plum Media Chair Dianna Cantler said, but more are needed for the June 6-8 downtown Johnson City party.

“It’s our team of volunteers who plan this festival,” Cantler said. “But they also go out to other festivals in the Southeast.”

What they come back with is fresh ideas that work elsewhere and will go well with the Blue Plum favorite features, enjoyed by the thousands who come out each year.

Jimmy Pierce and Dean Stewart are two of the volunteers for the Blue Plum who are currently trying to recruit about 20-30 more volunteers to work a variety of much needed jobs, from set-up and take-down operations before and after Blue Plum to gateway control, safety guards at intersections on the 5K race course and wrist banding. Each shift only needs to last two to four hours, but hitting the four-hour mark will earn each volunteer a food voucher along with the Blue Plum T-shirt.

“Our volunteers play an incredible role in the success of the festival, there really is no way we could pull the event off without all the volunteers that come downtown and help out,” Pierce said. Volunteers range in age from high school and college students to senior adults, we really can use most ages, 16 and up, to help,” he said.

Pierce said there are benefits like getting a necessary amount of community service hours for youth groups, but there’s also the chance to learn more about the downtown area and the business people that it’s made of.

“It’s a great way to learn about the community,” Pierce said. “Before I started doing this, I knew nothing about downtown, and now I know all the merchants.”

There’s been a recent uptick in volunteers, Pierce said, having had five to six people contact him about volunteering, but he and the festival organizers need more to put on a proper event.

“The more the merrier,” Stewart said, though 20-30 more would do.

Those who sign up to work won’t regret it, he said, saying that local businesses like the Main Street Pizza Company and others like it will hook up all the volunteers.

“They’ll have a great time and be in the middle of it all,” Stewart said.

Anyone interested in joining the collection of volunteers can do so at blueplum.org in the volunteering section under the About tab, contact Stewart at 302-9214 or Devin Hughes at 408-0074.

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