June 30 is fast approaching where hundreds of individuals will flood the streets of Shepherdstown to enjoy Streetfest 2012. Vendors, bands, food and more will come together in what appears to be a seamlessly put together event on a beautiful summer day.
What many may not realize is that the event takes months of planning and work by countless volunteers who work to make the event appear as if it simply materializes. Leading the efforts are members of the Shepherdstown Streetfest board headed up by President Lori Robertson.
Taking a break from her constant running, Robertson sat down this week to discuss exactly what is involved in bringing to life an event such as Streetfest.
“We started planning this year’s event in September,” she said. “We wanted to make some changes from last year to things such as vendor forms.” This year, she explained, the food vendors are separate from arts and craft vendors as far as their registration to participate in the event.
While both types of vendors must register in advance for the event, there are different requirements from each that caused a need to differentiate that registration.
Craft vendors are juried and accepted into the celebration, Robertston explained. Approximately 70 vendors can be placed along the event route while leaving space for local stores and restaurants to set up outside if they so choose. Food vendors are set in a food court, specifically so they don’t interfere with local restaurants reaching out to attendees.
Of the 70 spots available, Robertson said there are approximately 35 filled to date. Applications are still being accepted with forms to do so available at the event’s website www.shepherdstownstreetfest.org. In addition to local artists and crafters, visitors come from out of state as well. On the website, one can visit the vendor listing and link to websites belonging to the vendors to obtain a preview of what goods wil be available in June.
The event leads to the closing of several streets in the immediate downtown area. Parking for the event, Robertston shared, is offered by Shepherd University. All of the campus parking lots will be available for the day’s event and Streetfest organizers contract with the local PanTran system to provide shuttle service between the parking lots and the actual event. Maps of the event area are available on the website and will be handed out the day of the event.
When explaining any portion of the day’s event, Robertson referred to the Streetfest website. That site, she shared, has been established and is maintained by another volunteer, Jim Ford.
“He is remarkable,” Robertson shared. His efforts allow anyone intersted in finding out details of the event to simply click the mouse.
Ford is just one of the volunteers who have been working toward the success of the 2012 event. In addition to Robertson, the board consists of Chris Stroech, Delores Nichols who handles volunteer efforts, Chris Crawford and Bob Keel who are in charge of music for the event, Sarah Poland and Bernie Somers who head up the Kid’s Camp and Inge Ledden who handles vendors. While these individuals are the coordinating body of volunteers, Robertson shared that many in the community come out to make the event a success.
“There are no paid positions,” Robertson said. “It is all volunteer.” Volunteers can sign up to help on the website with help needed in set up, clean up, Kids’ Camp and many other areas.
“Volunteers are the reason the streets were so clean,” Robertson said, referring to the end of the day at Streetfest 2011. “By 10:30 p.m. it looked like there hadn’t been an event,” she said. She commended event attendees as well who recognized that Shepherdstown is a clean, green town.
Kid’s Camp will provide a variety of activities for youngsters including musicians, a magician, crafts, face painitng and more. Held on the lawn of McMurran Hall, kids camp requires that parents accompany their children at all times.
If there is one main draw to the Streetfest, it could be said that the music provides it. Several bands have been booked for both the main stage and the library stage. Names and times can be found at the link on the Streetfest website.
Robertson explained that the volunteers, including local accountant Eric Lewis, worked hard to secure a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for the event so that donors can give and receive a tax deduction for the gift. Gifts may be given through PayPal online to make donations easier.
While the event is free to the public, there are costs associated with putting on such an event. Paying for quality bands is one expense while other routine things such as portable toilets, advertising, tents, postage, printing and the like also quickly add up. Funds are raised through vendor fees, sponsors and beer sold in the Beer Garden.
Robertson shared that it cost approximatley $20,000 to host the 2011 event while the event raised approximately $30,000. With $5,000 put aside as a start to the 2012 event, she said that donations were given to Hospice of the Panhandle and the Shepherdstown Library out of last year’s funds. This year, she said, the charity chosen to receive some of the excess funds is the Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic.
Check out the website for continued updates on the event and sign up to volunteer in whatever capacity. Plan to attend what continues to be a fun-filled event for the town providing enjoyment for attendees and a potential revenue boost to local stores.