Volunteer opportunities highlight Blue Sage Community Events Fair

By Tamie Meck

Volunteer opportunities highlight Blue Sage Community Events Fair | Paonia, Blue Sage, volunteer,

Photo by Tamie Meck Program director Ali Lightfoot mans the KVNF booth Sunday at the Community Events Fair at the Blue Sage in Paonia. The sculpture on the wall was created by artist-in-residence Amy Jorgensen with Elsewhere Studios, which was also repres

Rob Miller of Pickin' Productions was drumming up sponsors for the 2016 Pickin' in the Park concert series in Paonia and the Ridgway Concert Series. When asked for a list of this year's acts, he cheerfully replied that he'll be making a formal announcement soon.

Pickin' Productions was one of 11 North Fork organizations represented at the Community Events Fair, held Sunday at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia. Representatives shared information about their organizations and the volunteer and business opportunities they provide. For this year's Pickin' series, which happens in August, Miller is looking for food vendors and needs to hear from interested parties by May 1. "We always lean very heavily toward locally-made food, of course," said Miller.

Elsewhere Studios, Friends of the Paonia Public Library, the Gears & Beers festival, KVNF Community Radio, the Mountain Harvest Creative, North Fork Ambulance, the Paradise Theatre, North Fork Valley Creative Coalition, the Paonia Cherry Days 4-Ever committee, The Learning Council, the Western Slope Conservation Center and the Blue Sage were also represented. Blue Sage executive director Annette Pretorius said the event grew out of monthly "Creative Directors" meetings, which are intended to create collaboration and mutual support among non-profits. An ongoing topic of discussion, said Pretorius, is the dilemma of how to disseminate information and attract volunteers. That topic evolved into the idea of a job fair-like event for non-profits.

There are a lot of people who want to volunteer, including people new to the area, said Pretorius. They don't always know what opportunities are available or where to look.

KVNF was seeking new members, volunteer DJs, and volunteers to answer phones during their annual spring pledge drive. This year's Gears and Beers, a three-day celebration of food, drink, music and cycling, happens June 3-5 and will be sponsored by Cirque Cyclery, said Amy DeLuca. It's all about getting people on their bikes and will include kids' rides and other activities, as well as a beer tasting event.

Nancy David with the Cherry Days committee said event organizers are looking for vendors of children's toys and volunteers for the Extreme Zone, Beer and Wine Garden, Cherry Days booth, pie eating and log-splitting contests, and cleanup and security.

The Conservation Center is always looking for help with its ongoing monthly water monitoring project on the North Fork of the Gunnison, and the North Fork Ambulance is always looking for EMTs and ambulance drivers. Linda Cannon with Farm to Fiddle, a new festival coming to Hotchkiss this August, is looking for sponsors and vendors.

With other organizations unable to attend and expressing an interest in future events fairs, Pretorius said it's possible this is the first of many such events.