In my post on the Rochester Fringe Festival I mentioned that I had signed up as a volunteer for a number of events. My volunteer experience far exceeded my expectations and I would sign up again in a heartbeat.
The Fringe board took their volunteers seriously. They used software that let volunteers indicate the times we were available and let us sign up for the events we wanted to work. When one of the events we volunteered for changed, the volunteer coordinator called to let me know they would reschedule us but would try to keefp us together (which they did). The software emailed the day before we were expected to work, to remind us of the time we were scheduled. We received many emails detailing our duties for each of our assignments.
As advertised, in return for volunteering we got Team Fringe shirts and tickets to one of the headliners (we chose Dave Barry who was very funny) for volunteering 6 hours or more. But that’s not why I volunteered.
Volunteering gave Lori and I access to a lot more. We acted as ticket takers/ushers in the Spiegeltent, where we got to see the Cirque du Fringe perform twice and got to see a little bit of what it took to put on a show like this. (We even got a chance to take pics of the cast in front of the test.) We acted as street guides before the Bandaloop performance, greeting people (including friends and ex-co-workers) entering Manhattan Square Park, handing out hundreds of Fringe Guides and answering questions. One of our fellow volunteers had the duty of unlocking the roof top door of the HSBC tower for the performers. He had an unbelievable view from up there, someplace you wouldn’t normally get to go. Here are a few of the pics he took:
I’m pretty sure Lori and I would not have spent as much time enjoying the Fringe if we weren’t already downtown. We got to finally sample fare from a few of the food trucks: I loved my apple/bacon/cheddar sandwich from Cheesed and Confused and Lori raved about her Carolina barbeque pork sandwich from Marty’s Meats. We got to listen to Prime Time Funk after the headliner show, and enjoyed delicious pesto chicken and portabello sandwiches from Ludwig’s Center Stage Cafe. We tried samples of Mü, and later bought the Mü Fringe signature drink.
I got way more out of the entire experience than I put in and can’t wait to sign up for next year.