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Guelph Multicultural Festival in dire need of volunteers

By Jessica Lovell
Guelph Tribune
With the Guelph and District Multicultural Festival less than a month away, organizers are starting to worry they won’t have the army of volunteers they need to make the event run as smoothly as possible.
“We need around 120, 140 volunteers, and we just have like 10,” said event co-ordinator Ana Maria Ruiz. “I’m knocking on all doors to get help finding volunteers.”
The free festival, which is a celebration of the city’s cultural diversity, runs June 6, 7 and 8 at Riverside Park. It includes activities ranging from a cultural fashion show to highland games, musical performances and international food.
Volunteer opportunities abound, and the shifts are flexible.
“We need just the normal stuff” – people to staff the information tent, people to provide directions to festival goers, people to help with the garbage system, people to direct traffic in the parking lot, Ruiz said.
Other jobs include selling raffle tickets, barbecue server, manning the children’s tent and manning the water truck.
“We are also looking for Smart Serve certified volunteers” to serve alcohol, said Ruiz. These volunteers, as well as raffle ticket sellers, must be at least 18 years old.
But younger high school students are welcome for most other jobs.
“Last year, we had some student who were looking for volunteer hours,” said Ruiz. The festival hopes to promote the opportunity again this year to students looking to acquire the volunteer service hours they require to graduate, she said.
Shifts are four hours long, and volunteers are welcome to work back-to-back shifts, work just four hours total, or put in four hours in the morning and another four at night, enjoying the festival in the hours between, Ruiz said.
Some may want to help out all weekend, others for just one day, she said.
Each four-hour shift worked gets the volunteer a food voucher for a hamburger or hot dog and a drink in the food tent, she said. Volunteers will also get T-shirts provided for them.
In addition to people to help out during the festival, volunteers are also needed to help with set-up beforehand and cleanup afterward.
The set-up begins on the Wednesday prior to the festival, and involves things like moving picnic tables, said Ruiz.
Cleanup begins when the festival ends at 6 p.m. on Sunday, with the shift ending around 9 p.m., she said.
“We just collect everything and leave it better than we received it,” she said.
There is no deadline to apply to volunteer, but festival organizers hope to have a healthy crew of applicants before a two-hour volunteer training session that has been scheduled for Sunday June 1.
“The sooner the better,” said Ruiz. “The festival is coming soon.”
Volunteer application forms are available on the multicultural festival’s website at www.gdmf.ca, or by contacting 519-836-7482 or info@gdmf.ca.

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