Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2012

Volunteers make Maple Leaf possible

October 18, 2012

The city’s wonderful fall foliage and vendors may be the Maple Leaf Festival’s attraction, but it is the work of volunteers that make it a success.

The effort is led by the all-volunteer Maple Leaf Committee. The committee meets every month except December and will start organizing the 2013 event in November.

The committee, whose 24 members gathered at its last monthly meeting in October to coordinate final details of the festival, is but the core of the volunteers who make the festival possible.

Once the festival starts, volunteers pitch in to help with such things as manning the festival information table in front of the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce building at Eighth and High streets, taking turns at the public address microphone across the street on the festival stage, manning street barricades and driving trams shuttling visitors from downtown to more far-flung activities.

“Our volunteers make it possible for the festival to run smoothly,” said Amber Roden, 2012 Maple Leaf Festival chairwoman. “We have so many people help keep the festival clean and safe.”

Donna Curran, and two-time past committee chairwoman, went further.

“The festival wouldn’t be possible without volunteers,” she said.

There are a few complicated jobs, requiring mobilization of volunteers. Two youth groups pitch in to help perform two of those tasks.

Curran said the Baldwin First United Methodist Church youth will help her Friday with the difficult task of putting down the tape marking out the space where the 300 craft vendors and 17 food vendors will set up in Saturday’s early morning hours.

Picking up the tape and all other trash left behind by the other 30,000 Maple Leaf Festival visitors falls to Baldwin City Boy Scout Troop 65.

Richard Dietz, assistant Scoutmaster, said that tape would be part of the Scouts’ final cleanup, which he said used techniques Scouts learn at camps and perfected under Roger Boyd’s many years of leadership.

“At the end of Sunday, we walk the line side-by-side from one side of the street to the other and pick up every little gum wrapper. It’s a Boy Scout tradition to leave a camp clearer than when we arrived. The streets of Baldwin really will be cleaner Sunday night than before the festival,” Dietz said.

The end-of-festival cleanup is just part the of the Boy Scouts’ trash=removal efforts. Throughout Saturday and Sunday, Scouts will walk festival streets checking to see if the 55-gallon trash and recycling barrels need emptied in trash bins located in alleys, Dietz said.

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