It takes many, many people working together to pull off a major event like SkyFest, and with Quesnel’s International Airshow just over a month away, organizers are putting out a call for volunteers.
“We are in desperate need of volunteers this year,” said SkyFest vice-president Sharon MacDonald.
Volunteers aged 19 or older are needed for gate admission, parking, event setup and break-down, grounds patrol and other duties. All volunteers will be required to participate in a practice day and must be available for safety procedures and operations orientation.
If you won’t be in Quesnel for SkyFest but still want to be involved, there is lots to do before the big event as well.
Kathy Fowkes and her husband, Bill, are in charge of recruiting volunteers this year.
“Volunteering is great; it brings the community together in a really worthwhile way,” said Fowkes. “My husband and I have been involved in SkyFest before as volunteers and had a great time. It’s a great way to meet new people. It’s a busy time, but the show only works if there are volunteers.
“There are lots of things [to do], and we try really hard to make a good match for people so if they have particular skills or interests, we try very hard to make sure that is where they can work and help everybody out.”
At this point, they are about halfway to where they need to be in terms of volunteers, according to Fowkes.
Fowkes says there is a variety of volunteer jobs that need to be done, and right now, they are particularly looking for people to help with parking, traffic, gate ticket scanners.
“Those are the things that kick the day off really, really well,” she said. “There are thousands of cars that come in; if people have to wait in line for a long, long time and it’s hot, everybody wants to watch the show, it starts the day off not so great, so we want it to flow smoothly, and we want to get people in to their parking spot so they can get in and find their spot and just enjoy the day and have a wonderful time.”
Fowkes says they also need help for setup the week leading up to the Aug. 2-4 event, as well as takedown, and there are many jobs that people can do.
“It’s not hard stuff; it just takes manpower,” she said. “That’s really, really necessary, and the more hands that do it, the easier it is.”
Fowkes says they also need more people to help with security and more trained first aid attendants.
“It goes without saying that the more people we have, then people can work shorter shifts and then they get to enjoy the day as well and it’s not quite so onerous on everyone,” she said.
Before the show, they are looking for people who would be able to sit in the airport for a couple of hours and sell tickets in their new SkyFest office. People can also help sell raffle tickets for the SkyFest society at the Billy Barker Days Gold Dust Mall.
Fowkes says people can do more than one job if they have varied interests, and younger volunteers can be paired up with adults.
“It’s a great way for young people to get involved in volunteering,” she said.
MacDonald says there are also volunteer opportunities for groups like Parent Advisory Councils, Boy Scouts, school bands, Special Olympics and clubs and organizations to volunteer and make a little money, whether they are selling raffle tickets or are in charge of the inflatables area in the Kidzone, for example.
Fowkes recently received a phone call from a man from Germany who is spending one year in Canada. He will arrive in Quesnel right before SkyFest, and he told her his homestay mom encouraged him to reach out and volunteer as a way to get involved in the community and meet people, and he says that although his English isn’t perfect, he’s very excited to be part of the event.
“People have been very, very welcoming and warm,” said Fowkes. “People are very positive and upbeat and wanting to help.”
Anyone who is interested in helping can fill out an online volunteer application form at quesnelskyfest.ca/getinvolved.html.
Potential volunteers can also call Kathy or Bill Fowkes at 250-992-5869.