Monday, May 25, 2009

The Difference

I used to be on a Festival Committee, and am on the one where I live now, too.

This past weekend was my new place's Festival. First we had a parade that was announced by me (I was asked at the last minute; wth, I was already bringing the equipment we'd borrowed to do it anyway). Then there were children's games and horseshoe pitching in the park. Then there was a rodeo, then a huge supper with barbeque, potato salad, beans, cake, and drinks.

I had to spend three weeks calling people to work on the buffet line and bake cakes. All of my volunteers showed up, and we had cake left over - all different types. The folks in charge of the rodeo had different tasks; the guys in charge of the pit BarBQ had different tasks, the folks in charge of the beer garden and dance had different tasks. But it all came together in one day.

Unlike in the past, I didn't have to beg anyone to work, and neither did any other organizer. All of my people showed up, and NOT ONE demanded to be paid for it - again, unlike in the past. Even the one deputy - yes, that's all we needed, ONE, for traffic control on about 500 people - was a volunteer! People didn't pay to be in the parade, it was volunteer. People DID pay for their barbecue dinners - $4.00 for adults. They also paid a dollar or two if they roped or rode in the rodeo. Everything they wanted they paid for - even the Methodists' concession stand. No entrance fee or cover charge for the dance; the band cost $500 and played from 8 to 1 AM. The Beer Garden cost $1.00 a beer. There was no violence, no drunken behavior, no rowdiness. And at 1 AM everyone who hadn't left already went home.

Such huge differences from what I'm used to seeing; the rude behavior, the selfish demands for people to be PAID for their time to get a festival up and moving, the rowdiness, the destructiveness, the demands for everything for free. Even though I worked all day on the festival, I still paid for my and DH's meal - because that is the way it is done and supposed to be. We volunteer to keep the festival going, not to get a freebie. I always did it before - did it all for free - but was constantly surrounded by people who would only do it for so long and for so much. It always used to piss me off that they were so mercenary, and cared so little about their community, that they thought they should make a profit off of it.

Now I don't have to deal with that crap any more. Here you not only help each other, but you don't demand to be catered to, you don't make a profit off of others' efforts, and you don't have to listen to the endless whining about "someone else might get more than MEEEEE!" or listen to the "Well, what you SHOULD do is -" from people who won't lift, who have never lifted, a single God-Damned finger that didn't profit them somehow. And that is the biggest difference of all.