This story appeared in the Tewksbury Advocate in July, 2006
At this time of the year, memories of Lowell Festivals past can’t help but be on my mind. I volunteered at the first Lowell Folk Festival – back when it was designated as the official national folk festival! I wasn’t new to either volunteering or to local festivals. Remember those Regatta Festivals up in the Boulevard under the inspiration and drive of Zenny Sperounis with Sue Leggat, John Green, John Machado, Dick Taffe, Angie Pappas and so many other? I – like Pauline Golec and others still active - go back that far.
I remember being in a tent in Regatta Field as an “ethnic” – with my mother Marie Kirwin, my great aunt Beatrice Deignan Willwerth, Fr. Jon Martin and other family and friends - selling an Irish medley of my mother’s specialites – lamb stew and Irish soda bread and my specialty – Irish coffee. Framed by an artist’s view of the Lakes of Killarney we displayed Irish artifacts, clothing, books and family history. What a grand time! Little did we know it would lead to the iconic 25-plus year run of the Lowell Folk Festival.
This weekend – July 28, 29, 30 – the 26th annual Lowell Folk Festival kicks into high gear! While attending the festival and enjoying all it has to offer by way of music, ethnic foods, cultural experience and the sheer joy of sharing with the thousands of people who come to the various stages and sites in historic downtown Lowell – a unique and perhaps more satisfying way of experiencing the festival is as a VOLUNTEER!
Volunteer guru Janet Leggat wants and needs you! The jobs are many and varied – selling the Lowell Folk Festival gear, driving/helping as escorting the performers, set-up and take-down of the vast festival site, helping with the innovative recycling program, joining the famous “Bucket Brigade” collecting the dollars that help make the whole event possible!
If this grand festival is to continue as the largest free folk festival in the country, more than a thousand volunteers are needed and necessary. You could be one of them! Contact Janet or Erin at 978-275-1740. There will be volunteer orientation meetings on Tuesday, July 24th and Wednesday, July 25th prior to the festival at the Boott Mill. All volunteers are strongly encouraged to attend. Some paper work must be filled out then you’ll get a t-shirt, your assignment and instructions! Volunteer shifts are such that you can still enjoy the festival as a spectator as well as a volunteer – try it you’ll have a great time!
Will I see you there?
For more information: http://www.lowellfolkfestival.org/volunteer.html