Sunday, July 08, 2007

Berrybeat Festival

Wow. What a weekend. It was non-stop! This weekend was the 26th Annual Berrybeat Festival downtown. I used to attend the festival when I was a kid, (in fact you'll note that it started the year I was born) and for the past five or six years I've participated in the organizing committee. My role there is to take minutes and provide input as necessary. I also help with set up and volunteer in the information centre during the actual festival.

Thursday was set up. We had lots of volunteers so it went quickly and smoothly. Probably the best set up we've ever had.

Friday my boss and I filed all. day. In fact we filed for most of last work. It's boring, dusty work but we got a LOT done. I basically went straight from work to the Festival. It had started at noon that day so it was in full swing by the time I got there. I manned the info centre for about an hour and then moved over to the main stage where I worked the merchandise table for the headliner Chris Janz. I've known about Chris but this was my first time seeing him perform. It was a great show. Chris' wife Feather is battling cancer and in the middle of his set he had a local hair dresser come up and shave his head!!! It was amazing. I know people often shave their head for charity or in support of someone who is under going treatement but this was the first time I had actually witnessed it. It was very moving. I do have pictures but I haven't downloaded them yet. Hopefully they turned out well.

During Chris' set Mom, Dad and Grandpa came down to say "hi". Grandpa and Aunty Liz went home on Saturday so it was the last time I got to see him. I made Mom take a quick picture of us because I hadn't gotten one yet!

The festival finished at nine and after hanging out with a few of the other volunteers and reviewing the day, I headed home and, after a nice shower went straight to bed. It should be noted that from my house to the festival site is about three blocks. It was so nice to just be able to walk there!

Saturday I was back at the info centre by 9:30ish. I got my pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream (a tradition!) and settled in to answer questions, give directions and act as a contact point for security and first aid. Our only first aid excitement was an adorable little girl who tripped and skinned her elbow. Security was basic stuff like don't ride your bike through the crowds. Around 3pm we had some excitement though. There are two large "airships". Helium ballons that are shaped like berries (a raspberry and a blueberry) and are about six feet in diameter. The raspberry had been losing helium but before we could take it down, it CAME down. The wind was blowing and it caught the balloon and sent it UNDER the power lines effectively cutting power to the whole downtown core. They had it restored in under an hour but in the meantime it was quiet with no sound coming from the main stage. The crowds thinned out some but most of the vendors were able to keep going without power so it wasn't too bad.

The festival wrapped up at 6pm on Saturday and we immediately started "undecorating". Somehow there were way less people around to help with clean up then there had been with set up but even still we managed to finish up in a fairly timely manner.

By all accounts it was a successful festival. I'm looking forward to next year already!


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