Egg festival planners seek volunteers, ideas

Posted Feb. 08, 2010, at 11:54 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — The Central Maine Egg Festival is six months away, but it’s close enough that organizers have spent the past month fretting about whether there is enough volunteer personnel to stage the five-day event.

Those fears were put largely to rest Monday evening when most of the major committee chairmanships were taken by members of the public in response to a recent call for help from festival and town officials. With a major push under way to rejuvenate the festival by adding new attractions and expanding events into surrounding communities, the search for volunteers is not over.

“We have a lot of good ideas,” said festival Vice President Debra Billings. “It’s people we’re short of. We need the people. We’ve realized that four or five people can’t do it all.”

Along with a grander plan for a festival, Billings and others are brainstorming a slate of fundraisers to take place over the next few months, with ideas ranging from public suppers to a Texas Hold ’Em or two-on-two basketball tournament. Those events, whenever possible, will be staged in conjunction with area nonprofit groups that are also looking for fundraising opportunities. The renewed emphasis on teamwork within the community follows what Billings said is a new mission for the festival: to provide an opportunity for local nonprofit organizations to have at least one major fundraiser a year.

In addition, the committee is studying ways to revamp how much it costs those organizations to participate, perhaps by charging a flat fee instead of a percentage, as has been done in the past.

To attract more revenue, the committee also is seeking festival sponsorships from large corporations, small businesses and individuals. Depending on how much is pledged, the sponsors could enjoy advertising in the festival brochure and on the festival grounds.

“If we all work together, we’ll have a great event this year,” said Town Manager Kathryn Ruth, who has instructed town departments to conceive new events to add to the festival.

The Central Maine Egg Festival, which this year is scheduled for July 20-24, attracts tens of thousands of visitors, said Ruth. This year’s theme will be “Community Service: A Celebration of Volunteers.”

The committee seeks volunteers of two types: one group of people who can organize some of the festival’s smaller events and another group to provide support, such as running occasional errands or making telephone calls.

Anyone who is interested, has an idea for a new event, or would like to discuss sponsoring the festival, should call Billings at 680-0646.

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