Volunteers are heart of BBQ festival

Published 12:41 pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

“The music is great. The barbecue is the best. But it’s the volunteers who make it work,” Blue Ridge BBQ Festival organizers said.
“It’s amazing that this whole thing is run by volunteers,” said Allison Gillespie, volunteer coordinator. “It’s astounding. There is not one paid position. We do it for the love of the festival, the love of the community and because we love people.”
And it’s that time again – time for volunteers to start signing up and getting involved. The festival needs between 300 and 500 community volunteers to make it happen. Duncan Ely, volunteer coordinator working with Gillespie, said, “This is a community festival, and community volunteers – whether long-timers or first-timers, individuals, families or groups – make it happen.”
Volunteers were disappointed last year when they thought the festival might be canceled. When it was announced the festival was still on, they came out in force to show their support. This year there’s a new leader, Chuck Britton, and a new entertainment committee led by Brook Hannon and Benton Wharton. Hannon and Wharton landed country music star Chuck Wicks, who will be performing on the main stage at 9:30 p.m. Friday night.
Britton promises that volunteers will be well taken care of this year. Last year, because of money (or rather, lack of it), volunteers weren’t given food tickets.
Britton said, “We are trying something new this year and the volunteers will be fed.”
That’s in addition to getting the highly coveted “Volunteer” tee shirt.
Signing up online to volunteer is easy and there are lots of positions to sign up for. To sign up, visit BlueRidgeBBQFestival.com.
The festival is conducted annually under the auspices of the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce.
For further information and for sponsorship opportunities, call the festival office at 828-859-RIBS (7427) or visit BlueRidgeBBQFestival.com.

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