ROCHESTER — Year after year, volunteers are crucial in making the Art & Apples Festival a success, organizers of Michigan’s second-largest art festival say.
“Essentially, the Art & Apples Festival doesn’t run without volunteers,” said Tami Salisbury, executive director of the Paint Creek Center for the Arts. “Being a staff of six, and because we have a need for 300 volunteers throughout the course of the weekend, the entire event really is volunteer-driven.”
Produced by the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, the festival is the nonprofit art center’s largest program of the year, and it provides nearly half of its annual operating revenues.
“It is our primary fundraiser for our operating budget for Paint Creek Center for the Arts, so it is extremely important to us that we have this support to pull off the event,” Salisbury added.
PCCA Membership, Volunteer and Events Manager Elise Salerno agreed.
“Even though the festival is presented by Paint Creek Center for the Arts and organized by its staff, we depend so heavily on community support through our volunteer program,” she said. “Our volunteers are really at the core of the festival.”
The 49th annual Art & Apples festival will welcome more than 200,000 guests and showcase the work of nearly 290 artists from across the country Sept. 5-7 in Rochester Municipal Park. The festival will also offer musical performances, free kids art activities and a variety of food during the three-day event.
“Every year, we look for nearly 300 volunteers to help with a variety of positions throughout the festival weekend,” Salerno explained.
This year, the PCCA needs people to help the artists check in, serve as artist ambassadors to mingle with artists and give them an occasional break from their tents, help with the Kids Activity Zone, hand out tickets to the food booths, assist festival-goers with questions, clean up the Monday following the festival and more.
“They are all great opportunities for families and employee groups, team-building exercises and community service hours,” Salerno added.
Volunteers, who must be 16 or older, will serve in shifts in four-hour increments, with morning, mid-afternoon and late afternoon times.
“People can volunteer for as many shifts as their schedule allows, whether it is just one or multiple shifts throughout the entire weekend. Since volunteers are such a large part of the festival, we can never have too many, so we will continue to take volunteers right up until the festival weekend,” Salerno said.
All volunteer positions will be assigned at the volunteer check-in tent on the day of the festival, where volunteers will also receive a free Art & Apples T-shirt sponsored by Blue Care Network of Michigan, which also sends a number of its employees to volunteer during the event.
“As we approach our 50th anniversary, it is a testament to our volunteers who share so much of their valuable time, energy and enthusiasm that continues to make the festival a great success year after year,” Salerno said.
Those interested in volunteering during the event are asked to contact Elise Salerno at (248) 651-4110 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers can also sign up at www.artandapples.com, where they can fill out the form with the dates and times of their availability.